Saturday, September 03, 2011

Troy Yocum wraps up journey

Joseph Lord (Courier-Journal) reports, "The booms of the bass drum could be heard blocks away on Main Street, heralding a troop who'd marched a long way home. A camouflage backpack was still strapped to the National Guard veteran who’d served in Iraq, accompanied by a sweaty brow he’d acquired on an uncharacteristically hot September afternoon."


(Troy Yocum photo taken by John Crosby)

Hike for our Heroes is a non-profit started by Iraq War veteran Troy Yocum who hiked across the country to raise awareness and money for veterans issues. He began his hike in April 2010 and he concluded it where it began, in Louisville, today. Lori Lyle (WAVE 3) reports:

An Iraq war veteran returned home today from a personal mission to raise money for military families in need. Troy Yocum spent the last 16 months hiking across the United States. He took off on foot from the Louisville Slugger Museum in April, 2010. Today he finished his last mile back at the museum with a crowd of people supporting him.
"What a journey!" Yocum said, "I've had a lot of time to think about what I was going to say today."

The 100th Army Band joined the hike for the last mile. And "hundreds" greeted him at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory including Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (who "proclaimed Saturday as Troy Yocum Day") and US House Rep John Yarmuth. Troy's Tweets today include:

WalkAcrossUSA Wow the donations are still coming in because of all of your efforts! We need you help to reach the goal! We are...

What did he miss the most in the year and six months of hiking across America? He tells Joseph Lord it was home and watching basketball games on TV. Devin Katayama (WFPL -- link is text, photos and and a video essay) quotes Troy stating, "There was definitely times when I wanted to quit but I kept thinking about this day right here." Katayam notes, "Yocum raised just over $500,000 dollars by Thursday and around 34 sponsors will donate an undisclosed amount on Sept. 14 in New York City, he said. He'll continue working with Wish Upon a Hero, helping veterans in need. But first, he wants to take a month off before he prepares for his next trip, he said."

Along with Betty's "Somerby and other things," the following community sites updated last night and today:

We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "SALVADORANS STRUGGLE AGAINST MINING FIRM" (Veterans Today):

Farmers along the banks of El Salvador’s Lempa River believe tomatoes gleam brighter than gold. They would rather put the river to work for farming, fishing, and drinking than to allow the multinational Vancouver-based Pacific Rim Mining Co. of Canada use the river water to extract the rich veins of gold buried nearby---a process that involves applying toxic cyanide-laced water to separate gold from the surrounding rock.
Area farmers discovered that “only a tiny share of Pacific Rim’s profits would stay in the country, and that the El Dorado mine was projected to have an operational life of only about six years, with many of the promised jobs requiring skills that few local people had,” write Robin Broad and John Cavanagh in the August 18th issue of The Nation magazine. Broad is a professor at American University’s School of International Service and Cavanagh is director of the Institute for Policy Studies, of Washington, D.C.
The Lempa is the water source for more than half of El Salvador’s 6-million people and wends through Honduras and Guatemala as well. In Santa Marta, El Salvador, Broad and Cavanagh write, “citizen groups are building sustainable farming as an alternative economic base to mining. Their goal: a ‘solidarity economy’” centered on the life-giving river to feed and clothe them.
Vidalina Morales, an organizer for the Social and Economic Development Assn.(ADES), told the reporters, “initially, we thought mining was good and it was going to help us out of poverty...through jobs and development.” (The price of an ounce of gold has skyrocketed from $300 a decade ago to more than $1,500 today.)
The Salvadorans changed their views, however. As a study from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature found, area residents “living near mining exploration activities began to notice environmental impacts from the mining exploration---reduced access to water, polluted waters, impacts to agriculture, and health issues.”

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oh boy it never ends