LANSDALE, Pa. (CBS) – A Montgomery County man is preparing to leave for the Pittsburgh area this weekend – on foot!
Michael Rieg will join a group of walkers leaving from Center City on Sunday for the Pennsylvania Hero Walk.
He's been walking a lot lately, so he's well aware of his limits.
"I don't do downhills, though. Downhills are murder on arthritic knees," Rieg says.
Strong knees are a must for his two-week journey on foot across the Keystone State, more than 300 miles.
"We walk for two weeks along Route 30 until we get just above Pittsburgh," Rieg explains.
Rieg has made and worked each walk, drawn to volunteer by his own experience as a veteran.
"I was out in Ft. Lewis, Washington in the army in August 1969 ready to ship off to Vietnam as a fort observer of artillery," he recalls.
Rieg's service kept him stateside, and later compelled him to do something for other vets he feels made greater sacrifices.
"When I first heard about this walk, I think about the break I got, and yet, I didn't do anything to deserve it," he explains. "But I thought so many guys that I knew didn't get that lucky break, you know, and served in the war."
Rieg's Lansdale basement is Hero Walk home base.
"I track everything, and anyone who makes a donation I know about goes on the donor sheet," he explains.
Spreadsheets track teams of walkers and their donations, many for a "Lansdale Hero Walk" he launched a few years ago.
This year, he expects about 1,000 people and to raise $50,000.
Over six years, Rieg says, the walks have raised more than $1 million for veterans, their causes and their families.
As the walkers make their way west, they're doing more than just marching – they're also raising money using cans to seek out donations.
Rieg keeps hundreds of photos and keepsakes from past walks and hopes to add more.
The Lansdale walk starts Saturday at 10 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church. Registration is $20 and the walk lasts for about an hour, followed by food and music.
For more on the statewide Hero Walk, visit: www.paherowalk.com
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