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Florida Man Pounds the Pavement for the Troops

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2003 – A Naples, Fla., man walked 45 miles last weekendfrom the Naples City Hall to the Fort Myers City Hallto pay tribute to U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Cody Anderson from Naples, Fla., walks 45 miles to honor deployed U.S. troops, carrying a photo of his "adopted" soldier, Pfc. Stephen Tubbs from the 101st Airborne Division's 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment. Courtesy photo.

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Cody Anderson said he made the walk to raise awareness about America's deployed troops and to encourage his fellow Americans to "adopt" deployed service members, sending them cards and letters of encouragement.

During the walk, which began Dec. 7 and took 17 hours, Anderson carried a photograph of his own "adopted" soldier, U.S. Army Pfc. Stephen Tubbs from the 101st Airborne Division's 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment. Anderson has never personally met Tubbs, but learned about him through his sister-in-law, Kadi Tubbs, who works for the mayor's office in Fort Myers.

Anderson said he pushed himself through the walk, despite leg cramps and bleeding blisters. "I kept telling myself that I couldn't stop, because these (deployed) men and women can't stop," he said. "They go on and they do it for the right reasons."

Born on July 4th, Anderson said he's always been a patriot, and decided to make the walk "to do something for my country."

He said the greatest thrill of the experience was meeting Tubbs' father during the walk, then receiving a letter of thanks from his adopted soldier, whom he said he looks forward to meeting when he returns to the states. Tubbs is currently based in Mosul, Iraq.

"I understand you endured one hell of a march recently," Tubbs wrote in an email to Anderson. "This is quite a way to raise awareness. From the sounds of things, you certainly accomplished your mission"

Tubbs wrote, "Nothing makes a soldier feel better than to be recognized, though that is not our purpose. As I know you understand, we do it for our way of life."

He concluded by telling Anderson, "I extend my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. You've gone above and beyond your duties as an American."

Anderson is no stranger to raising awareness for causes he feels are worthy. In 1979, he walked 4,800 miles across the United States pulling a 200-pound covered wagon for the American Heart Association. Ten years later, he pedaled 7,200 miles across the United States in a homemade miniature space shuttle to honor the crew of the Challenger and raise money for CARE, an organization that feeds the hungry in 64 countries. In 2001, Anderson parasailed from Marco Island to St. Petersburg, Fla., to benefit the American Cancer Society.

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