Area Veteran To Walk Across America For Wounded Warriors
One area veteran is going to great lengths to support his brothers.
Joshua Lydell, 33, a United States Marine Corps veteran and Frewsburg native, has dedicated the next six to eight months of his life to fundraising for the Wounded Warrior Project.
On Monday, he will depart on a 2,800-mile solo trek from South Carolina to California, pulling or pushing a cart to carry his supplies. According to Lydell, he plans to walk 20-25 miles per day, taking breaks every 3-6 miles.
“The plan is to visit every veterans association I can along the way – probably a few hundred of them,” he said.
“The idea is not to have one person donate $1 million, but to have a million people donate $1,” Lydell said. With his grassroots effort, he hopes to raise $100,000 before completing the trek.
Since Lydell’s father, Martin Lydell, had previous plans to drive to Florida, Lydell will ride halfway, to Charleston, S.C., where he will stay with a friend before beginning his journey. According to Lydell, he initially planned to start from New York, but his father encouraged him to start from a coastal city which would provide a due west path and more manageable temperatures.
Previously, Lydell worked at Wegmans and practiced mixed martial arts, training for Team Invicta in Jamestown. According to Lydell, he has been interested in doing something for charity since 2000.
Six months ago, he began making preparations for the trek and designing the cart.
The cart that Lydell will push or pull during his journey was designed and built by Lydell, who gives the majority of credit to his father, who fabricates and works on machinery out of his shop in Frewsburg.
“He’s been invaluable during this process,” Lydell said about his father.
“We worked together on the cart. It was designed using CAD, where we got a good idea of what was possible and what would and wouldn’t work,” Lydell said.
Made from mainly aluminum to keep the cart lightweight, the cart is outfitted with heavy-duty bearings and an axle from an old tricycle, which provides heavy-duty support for the rest of the cart.
The underside of the cart features space for a cooler, to hold a few days’ worth of food and water, a sleeping bag and a few other provisions.
To sleep, Lydell will support the front of the cart with its attached kick-stand and lay on top of the cart like it was a bed. In case of rain, Lydell’s father designed a usable cover by outfitting the top of the cart with removable U-shaped pipes that can be covered with a tarp, creating a covering like that of a covered wagon.
Lydell plans to knock on the doors of residents along his path and ask if he can sleep in their yards.
After reaching California, he hopes to visit the Redwood National Park, ending the trek in San Francisco.
One-hundred percent of the donations will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, which is focused on raising awareness for the needs of injured service members and to provide aid to injured service members.
Lydell wanted to thank the Lakewood YMCA for donating him a gym membership that allowed him to physically prepare for the trek, as well as the Vietnam Veterans Association and Veterans of Modern Warfare Jamestown chapters for their generous donations.
To donate to Lydell’s walk and support the Wounded Warrior Project, visit support.woundedwarriorproject.org/individual-fundraising/thewarriorwalk.
To contact Lydell, call 969-1131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.