Starting Strong

On Sunday, Veterans of Modern Warfare Chapter 20, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 865 and Jamestown Vietnam Veterans Association donated $1,250 to the cause of Josh Lydell at the Vietnam Veterans of America in Jamestown building at 41 Bigelow Ave.

Lydell, a United States Marine Corps veteran and Frewsburg native, will be driving to Charleston, S.C., before walking cross-country to San Francisco, Calif., to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project.

“We as a club, as a family here, decided to donate a few dollars to this man,” said Joe Paladino, president of Veterans of Modern Warfare Chapter 20, in a speech given during the presentation of the check. “As everyone knows, with every war, with every conflict, we have fallen, we have wounded and we have inner-wounded for that matter with PTSD and all of the above. And for him to take time out of his life to do what he is doing, our hats are off to you.”

Lydell, who hopes to collect not $1,000,000 from one person, but $1 from a million people, said, “It’s not much for one person to give a buck, but it adds up. Teamwork is what it is.”

Lydell has been interested in doing something for charity since 2000.

“What I like about charity in general is people doing things they don’t have to do,” he said. Lydell got the idea to do it for The Wounded Warrior Project after reading an article about a man whose little girl was in the children’s wing of a hospital. He managed to find treatment which would save his daughter’s life, but as he walked out the door, he realized that most of the children in that wing would not be so lucky. Lydell then began to think of a lot of his friends who never came back or didn’t come back the same way.

“The Wounded Warrior Project obviously is a cause close to my own heart,” he said. “I have friends who have been directly impacted by either Wounded Warrior Project or by warfare in general.”

The Wounded Warrior Projects helps to work with wounded veterans when they come back. To help them with medical expenses, reacclimate to society or just cover bills the government didn’t cover.

“The people who go into military a lot of times are different kinds of people,” Lydell said. “They like to work out. They like to run and do things. And you come back, and you can’t do those things anymore. And Wounded Warrior has a lot of events they put on to help those guys compete in events they still can do.”

On his trek, Lydell will be pushing or pulling a cart full of supplies with a crow for a companion, joking he wouldn’t wish a crow on even his worst enemy.

“Anyone can take care of a pet, but a crow is a pain,” Lydell said.

Lydell gives the majority of the credit of the design and construction of his cart to his father, Martin Lydell.

Lydell initially planned to start his journey from New York, but his father encouraged him to start from a coast city which would provide a due west path at more manageable temperatures. Lydell said he was convinced this was the best course of action when he was outside training for the walk, and a snowplow splattered him with snow. He then went to the Lakewood YMCA, which donated him a gym membership to train for the journey.

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 joshualydell@gmail.com. To follow along with Lydell’s journey, follow him on Facebook at Joshua Lydell.