ROSSVILLE, Ind. (WLFI) - Dean Troutman, 90, of Illinois is walking well over 3,000 miles to help raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. On Jul. 24, he arrived in Delphi and on Jul. 25. he arrived in Rossville. At 6:30 a.m. on Jul. 26, he'll leave Rossville for Frankfort.
"I said as long as they keep going up every day and these old legs keep holding me up ever day I'm going to walk and that's what keeps me going, these donations coming in," Troutman said.
Troutman is no stranger to long walks. In 2014, he walked 700 miles to raise money for a park in memory of his late wife, Peggy. In 2015, he had an initial walk for St. Jude over 500 miles.
He raised $10,000, but he wants to raise more.
He's walking 3,600 miles and is asking for donations of $36, one penny for every mile he walks.
Those journeys aren't easy. Until this year, he has refused shelter from those offering, instead choosing to sleep in cornfields just off the road.
"I just didn't feel comfortable going into people's homes especially coming in, taking a shower and dirtying their bathroom," Troutman said. "Although I do carry my own towel, soap and shampoo and all that because I mainly shower in volunteer fire houses."
He pushes a converted pet carrier which he calls his "buggy". It carries everything he needs for the journey: food, clothing, maps, cassets, and a photo of Peggy looking back at him.
However, the buggy makes it so he can't go on bumpy surfaces meaning sometimes he has to walk on the road.
"It gets pretty scary sometimes because I have to say on a hard surface, that thing will not run on gravel or rocks or weeds, I just can't," Troutman said. "If there's no shoulder I'm running out there with the traffic."
None of this stops him. What makes the journey even better is when somebody takes the time to walk with him. Over 200 miles, just two people have done it so far.
"Oh yes, I'd like company every day walking, it just makes the miles go by much faster... when you're alone you're just watching your feet one foot in front of the other all the time, and it get's a little boring sometimes," Troutman said.
With the children of St. Jude in mind, Troutman believes the journey is worth it.
"I'm just hoping each day that we can raise enough funds that we can help some of these kids," Troutman said.
You can donate at Troutman's website. Funds donated go directly to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.