Wendell Berry Jr.’s odometer is about to roll over to 1,000 miles.
Berry, a founder of WC Challenger Charities and a Fit-N-Wise trainer, committed in September to running 1,000 miles to raise money and awareness for WCCC’s latest effort – giving homes to wounded war veterans.
After Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony in Decatur, Berry hit the track on Thompson Street to run the last few miles of his nine-month journey. A small crowd joined him as he clocked 4.9 miles, bringing his total to 999.9 miles.
He’ll run the last 10th of a mile in the arena at the J.W. Hart PBR Challenge Saturday, June 8.
“I knew we’d get busy the next couple of weeks and thought it would be fitting to finish it on Memorial Day for sure,” he said.
Berry came up with the 1,000 Miles ‘Til Home campaign when WCCC expanded its efforts by forming an alliance with Military Warriors Support Foundation to give away mortgage-free, remodeled homes to veterans wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan.
They hoped to raise $20,000, enough to give away one home, but the fundraising campaign has been so successful they will be able to give away five homes. The keys will be presented to veterans and their families at the PBR event next Saturday.
“The support of the community and businesses has been overwhelming,” Berry said. “This is about $1.25 million worth of homes. It’s been fun. The Lord had to have blessed this for it to take off like it has.”
WCCC has raised almost $400,000 for local charities over the last 10 years, and this latest endeavor will honor the organization’s 10th anniversary and the memory of WCCC founder Roy Young, who died in September.
Berry said although there won’t be the same huge push next year, he plans to continue 1,000 Miles ‘Til Home as a new organization with the goal of giving away one to two homes per year.
“I’m hoping it will grow into a sizable thing where we can help a lot of veterans and just give it all back,” he said. Berry explained that it would still be tied to WCCC and the PBR.
“I like to exercise, and I like to run,” Berry said. “The challenge of it and knowing I had to log a certain number of miles, it was just a good fit.”
Although most of the money has been raised, donations for the homes are still being accepted via PayPal at www.1000milestillhome.com. Donations may also be mailed to WC Challenger Charities, P.O. Box 1238, Decatur, TX 76234.
Tickets for the J.W. Hart PBR Challenge can be purchased at Wise Wireless in Decatur and at www.wcchallenger.org. The event is 7:30 p.m. June 8 at the Wise County Sheriff’s Posse Ground in Decatur.