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Cross-country journey gives back to veterans

Community Portrait
By: Michael Kirby
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Lynn Beadles answered the call. Moved by a cause dear to his heart, the semi-retired Auburn businessman volunteered just two weeks ago, with a huge personal commitment, to help Keela Carr. She’s the 35-year-old woman who is running and walking across the United States to raise money for military veterans. Having never met Carr, Beadles just had a feeling that this was a cause worthy of his efforts. Carr plans to traverse 35 to 40 miles per day on a 2,700-mile trip that begins June 14 at Fort Irwin in Barstow, and ends in Virginia at the Tomb of the Unknowns, around the 14th of August. Beadles had been reading a blog centered on recreational vehicles and came across a blurb about Carr’s second walk across America raising money in support of veterans and their causes. “The plea had gone out through the RV dealers and manufacturers for someone to step forward with an RV to provide support for her organization and her walk,” Beadles said. “I thought, you know what, I’ve got a RV, I’ve got time, I want to travel, I’m going to do this.” Beadles’ next move was to do a little research into Carr and her organization, Journey of a Thousand Thanks. “I took a chance and sent her a message on her Facebook account that I found by a quick Internet search, and the next day she got back to me wondering if I was serious,” Beadles said. Serious he was and details began to be worked out. Beadles will drive his 40-foot Holiday Rambler RV and pull a 25-foot trailer which will provide space for supplies and sleeping quarters for three of the support staff. Besides Beadles, the journey includes Carr’s teammate who will accompany her on the run/walk for a portion of the trip. Also, the team will include a medic and an active-duty Army representative assigned to help in any way with Carr’s journey. Beadles’ duties will be ironed out as the trip comes together, but so far they include driving his support RV, logistics, promotion and publicity along the way, communicating with local VFW organizations as the trip progresses, and organizing mini rallies in support of the effort. “All this is to thank our vets for what they have given,” Beadles said. The group will be staying wherever they can along the way, and have already been invited to stay at 10 Army bases. Several VFW halls have agreed to host the caravan. “We’ll find out which people are stepping forward volunteering places to stay as we travel down the road,” said Beadles. Beadles was semi-retired until this venture consumed him, and Carr is a personal trainer from Orlando. Carr is not a veteran though members of her family are. Beadles is a Vietnam-era veteran who was stationed in Japan with the United States Air Force. Monies raised through “Journey of a Thousand Thanks” will be used toward building housing for homeless veterans and to assist their families. Beadles also has donated two of his prized possessions, a customized 1997 Chevrolet extended cab truck, and a customized 2004 Harley Davidson motorcycle. Both will be raffled off after selling tickets along the trip route. Tuesday morning Beadles left Auburn, his home of 16 years. He received a sendoff from Auburn’s mayor Mike Holmes at the Historic Courthouse. Beadles is heading off on a journey, doing his part to help our United States veterans who answered the call.