MOUNT PLEASANT — A group of 30 former service members finished a 100-mile trek from Myrtle Beach to Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum on Wednesday in honor of Veterans Day.
By 2 p.m., they had marched 35 hours and were on U.S. Highway 17 with the end nearly in sight.
"Remembering service members isn't just important today, it's important every day," said Marine Corps veteran Paul Yurkin, who organized the Victory Walk. "It's a reminder that Veterans Day is every day."
The veterans started walking Tuesday and woke up in McClellanville around 4 a.m. Wednesday to finish the final stretch to Charleston. Yurkin, carrying an American flag on a pole over his right shoulder, was leading the group through the pouring rain.
The group came up with the idea to commemorate veterans about eight months ago. They have been training during most of the pandemic for the hike. A van rode alongside them to rotate people in and out for proper rest.
One member of the group, 65-year-old Marine Corps veteran Kenn Capper, helped raise morale during the journey.
The retired sergeant major had walked 81 miles straight and stopped to do 22 pushups after every mile along the way to honor the 22 veterans who die by suicide every single day on average.
"I'm feeling accomplished, I'm feeling awesome," Capper said. "I feel like we're giving back. This is for my brothers."
Traffic was backed up along Highway 17 as police escorted the group in their final stretch toward Patriots Point. Amanda Yurkin, Paul's wife, was excited to see the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge on the horizon.
"Someone has been walking the entire time," she said. "We've put everything into this."