Walking, because they are driven!

Originally posted on December 20, 2013 @ 5:46 pm

Brian Cochran and Austin Shirley

Brian Cochran (L) and Austin Shirley ® and Archer

Meet Brian Cochran, Austin Shirley and Archer. To many, this trio might look like homeless people moving from one location to another. And that’s exactly what they are. But this trio has a different reason for their movements than many others do. A great story follows.

Austin Shirley, a Plano, TX native, started walking in Jacksonville, Florida with his sites set on San Diego, California.  He is walking to raise awareness and to raise money for Wounded Wear, an organization that outfits combat-wounded veterans with the gear they need to get by after losing limbs and other such injuries. As he approached Shreveport, his buddy, Brian Cochran saw him on the news. The two knew each other while serving in the US Navy several years back. Cochran reached out to Shirley and ended up joining him and Archer on their journey.

Shirley admits that this is somewhat of a personal goal for him, to walk across the USA. Cochran quit his job to join Shirley and now the two are in the Mineola area. I got a phone call from a reader this afternoon telling me where they were so I set out to find them. I found them just as the Mineola Monitor was finding them and we were later joined in our small party on the side f US 80 by Rhonda and Garrett Gilmore. The Gilmores live in Rockwall and were on their way to Longview for the holiday. Rhonda apparently knew she would come across the two as she had gift cards ready for them. It was Mineola Buzz’s pleasure to give a small gift to the two as we stood on the side of the road.

The trio hopes to be in Dallas for Christmas and is spending tonight in the Mineola area.

Brian Cochran and Austin Shirley

Brian and Austin pose with Rhonda Gilmore and her son, Garrett, of Rockwall.

Please visit their Facebook page for more information on these great young men and their journey and to find out how you can help them. They said that any amount is sincerely appreciated and there is no such thing as a small donation. They are all important and all of it goes to help wounded combat veterans. Donations can be made here.

In a day and time where we are worried about our iPad, which cool smartphone we have, who is right about Duck Dynasty and everything else in the news today, we can ALL learn a lesson in humility and dedication from these young men, myself at the head of that line.

THANK YOU, Brian Cochran, Austin Shirley and the beautiful Archer. What you are doing is truly inspirational to us all. Best of luck on your journey.

Scott Hazard




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