Friday, September 02, 2011

Troy Yocum wraps up hike tomorrow


(Troy Yocum photo taken by John Crosby)

Hike for our Heroes is a non-profit started by Iraq War veteran Troy Yocum who is hiking across the country to raise awareness and money for veterans issues. He began the walk last April. From the Facebook page:

Iraq War Veteran Troy Yocum, his wife Mareike and Emmie the super dog are hiking 7,000 miles across America to help military families in need. They took their first steps of the 16-month cross-country quest on April 17, 2010. Backed by corporate sponsors, many volunteers and support members, Team Hike for our Heroes/Drum Hike are taking on the challenge of raising needed funds by hiking 7000 miles across America. The journey will take 16 months passing through 31 states and 38 large cities. The team will have to average over 20 miles a day while enduring each season. Funds donated go through The Wish Upon A Hero Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization that seeks to supports the community of individuals working online who grant the needs and wants of others making a wish. We believe that no wish is too large, no hero is too small and that everyone can become a hero. The idea for the hike has been evolving since Troy joined the Army in 2001 but it is now when our economy is struggling and military families are in most need that he and his family will put one foot in front of another to connect and help struggling families. Help our mission by making a donation today!

The hike that began in Louisville, Kentucky over a year and a half ago is scheduled to conclude there this Saturday at approximately 1:30 p.m. Ken Neuhauser (Louisville Courier-Journal) notes, "Coincidentally, Louisville native and Iraq war veteran Troy Yocum will complete his 'Hike for Our Heroes' campaign at 1:30 p.m. Saturday across the street at the Louisville Slugger Museum, where he began his 7,000-mile cross-country trek in April 2010. His accomplishment will be recognized as part of the Founder's Day celebration." Devin Katayama (WFPL) reports:

Now he is getting close and he said when he arrives at the finish line at the Louisville Slugger Museum this weekend, he expects a few thousand people to greet him.
"I thought I could finish all 7,880 miles in 15 months and instead we're coming into Louisville around a month and a half late. And that’s not a failure in my book. I take from this that perseverance is key to accomplishing any goal and I’ve been working extra hard this year to make it all the way to the finish line. It's almost surreal to be this close to home. I just passed a sign that said 33 miles and that feels really good," said Yocum.

Late last night, Troy Tweeted, "Feels good to be closing on what has been an incredible journey!" That's tomorrow at approximately 1:30 in the afternoon. We'll note Troy at the top of today's snapshot but there won't be anything up here on Saturday before his arrival in Louisville so if you're in the Kentucky area or plan to be, make yourself a reminder that the approximate time is 1:30 pm and this is an event open to the public.

The following community sites -- plus McClatchy Newspapers, NPR, The Diane Rehm Show,, Jane Fonda and the ACLU -- updated last night and this morning:

Plus Betty's "Libya," Rebecca's "barry's in trouble," Ruth's "The movie marathon continues," Ann's "4 men, 1 woman" and Kat's "Barack's full of it." We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "PENTAGON ALLOWS NEAR 'SLAVERY' CONDITIONS AMONG FOREIGN WORKERS" (CGR):

Many of the 70,000 “third country national”(TCN) service workers employed in Afghanistan and Iraq “recount having been robbed of wages, injured without compensation, subjected to sexual assault, and held in conditions resembling indentured servitude by their subcontractor bosses,” reports Sarah Stillman in a June 6th article in The New Yorker magazine titled “The Invisible Army.” In fact, the system resembles nothing so much as a twisted form of modern slavery.
“These workers, primarily from South Asia and Africa, often live in barbed-wire compounds on U.S. bases, (and) eat at meagre chow halls...” she reports. “A large number are employed by fly-by-night subcontractors who are financed by the American taxpayer but who often operate outside the law.”
Since the U.S. invasions, more than 2,000 contractor fatalities and 51,000 contractor injuries have been reported in Iraq and Afghanistan as the soaring casualty rates “are now on a par with those of U.S. troops in both war zones,” Stillman writes.
Although President Obama said in 2009 he would make good on his campaign pledge to do better by these contractors, the number of TCN’s in Afghanistan had increased by nearly 50 percent reaching 17,500----with no apparent improvement in their lot. Indeed, the deplorable conditions on the bases where contractors are employed have triggered widespread rioting.
“Previously unreported worker riots have erupted on U.S. bases over issues such as lack of food and unpaid wages,” Stillman reports. On May 1, 2010, in a labor camp run by Prime Projects International on the largest military base in Baghdad, more than a thousand subcontractors---primarily Indians and Nepalis---rampaged using as weapons fists, stones, wooden bats, and, as one U.S. military policeman put it, “anything they could find.”

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