New York: Ernie Andrus refused to just sit down and wait for the end. Instead, the World War II veteran chose to run over 4,000km from the US Pacific coast to the Atlantic Ocean.
Mr Andrus turned 93 last Friday and his epic run began in October from three years ago, in San Diego. He made it to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, on Saturday.
“Oh, it’s great,” Mr Andrus was quoted as saying by Brunswick News after reaching his destination. “I’m glad to have finished and met the goal. But I wish it wasn’t over.”
And just like in the Hollywood film Forrest Gump, Mr Andrus had his own set of followers wearing ‘Run, Ernie, Run’ T-shirts. “All these people, it’s so wonderful. This is great, this is the biggest crowd I have had, ever,” he added.
According to reports, he sold all his possessions, including his home in California, to help fund his run. He was also inspired by the death of his wife alongside other memories from World War 2. Mr Andrus wishes to raise money and awareness for the LST 325 — a type of amphibious landing vessel which helped the Allies during the war.
As a medic he experienced first hand how important the ships had become to Allied force. He plans to restore one of the ships and take it to Normandy in France for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings — in 2019.
Fellow veterans have praised Mr Andrus’s efforts. “I’ll tell you what, he’s a tough old man. Even if he doesn’t raise another dime, the attention he’s brought to WWII, and the sacrifice those men made, has just been phenomenal,” John Tallent, a Vietnam war veteran was quoted as saying.