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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

USA Freedom Walk includes a stop in Butler

Dusty Dawson with Phillip and Etha Pearl Pieratt
of Butler
48 year old retired Army veteran Robert 'Dusty' Dawson Jr. is a man on a mission. But not anything like missions he took part of while serving in Afghanistan.

Dawson is on the move- devoting his travels to raising awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project and Homeless Veterans.

Starting in the upper northwest corner of the United States last year, his planned 8,000 mile journey included some zig zags and impromptu stops; but maintains his overall goal of traveling at least 100 miles in each state as shown by the map here. 

He's met a lot of people along the way. And in speaking to Mid America Live this morning, not all have been friendly, at least not at first. But in almost every case those get to know him, like him and come to understand his cause. And many have been very generous by inviting him into their homes for some tasty meals and a good night's rest.

His original plans were to walk every inch of the journey but long stretches of deserted areas can pose a threat to a lone traveler, so Dawson decided to drive his jeep, with sleeping accommodations in tow. When stopped, he walks. In fact, his walk around Butler yesterday was 19 miles.

As he came into town, he quickly noticed the Dusty Attic antique store and yes, the name drew him inside for a quick conversation with owner Jean Rhodes. 

The focus of his trip to Butler was to visit with friends Staff Sergeant Kevin Pieratt and wife Jackie, along with Kevin's family including Phillip and Etha Pearl Pieratt. Dusty and Kevin have a lot in common- Pieratt has already served 18 years and is currently stationed at Fort Gordon GA; is a combat veteran of Iraq in 2003; and has served in Korea twice.

While with the Pieratt family, Dusty took in the highlights, which included a visit to the Heinlein house, the square and other attractions. 

Where next? Today his journey continues northward toward Chillicothe, MO with a planned stop at the Harry S. Truman library. 

Yes, Dawson will be visiting Hawaii in November to round out his travels. No, he's not driving there...but an exception can be made, all things considered.

You can follow the travel diary of Dusty Dawson by joining his Facebook page here

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