Virginia man raising money for kids camp

Published 11:46 am Monday, October 9, 2023

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By Jordan Brooks

After walking more than 20,000 miles across the country, a Virginia man recently made a stop in Bell and Claiborne counties.

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During the final stretch of his trek across America, Steve Young, 67, from Patrick Springs, Virginia, is walking from state to state to raise awareness about a camp that helps children who are living with chronic illnesses, disabilities or may have a special need.

Located in the hills of Randleman, North Carolina, Victory Junction is a children’s camp that allows children who may have serious illnesses to have a place that allows them to play, use their imaginations, make friends and enjoy life.

Young launched his journey in the spring of 2020, when he sat out from his Virginian home and began walking across the country. At each point, Young has interacted with city officials and first responders. On Sundays and Wednesday afternoons, Young attends church services to worship and tell others about the camp.

One of Young’s goals in his journey across America is connecting with first responders. Young says he makes an effort to connect with the first responders of each community he visits, one of the last being the Harrogate City Volunteer Fire Department. From there, he was able to collect a new badge to add to his collection of over 200 badges representing various first responding organizations. Young says he plans to donate all of his collected badges to the children at Victory Junction.

Young says he is always moved by the kindness in people’s hearts, and he sees it everywhere he goes.

“A guy stopped me out of nowhere when I was about at KFC [in Middlesboro] and recognized me and asked me ‘Are you the guy walking across the country?’ and I said yeah,” said Young. “And he said ‘thank you’, and handed me $20.”

While Young is not employed by Victory Junction, he says he has lost track of all the donations people have pledged to the camp.

“I’ve personally never met him, but I’m told he walks around the country and he stops raising awareness,” said Marc Seal, who manages donations at Victory Junction. “He may accept a meal or a place to sleep, but he never accepts donations personally.”

Seal says it costs $2,500 to send one child to camp for five days, but parents never have to pay thanks to donations.

Young said he has plans to continue down south 25E to visit some more southern states before wrapping up his journey in March 2024.

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