On September 1, 2015, at approximately 8:00 AM, three Marines and their service dogs will begin a 100 mile walk from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, to the Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan, NY in honor of two of their brother Marines killed in action.
Walking approximately 12 miles a day, the Marines plan to arrive in New York City on or before September 10, 2015. Once in New York the Marines will be participating in various 9/11 ceremonies as a tribute to the fateful day in American History that has sent so many of our brave men and women into war.
Dubbed “The Long Walk”, it will honor the memories of Corporal John Thornton of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion 7th Marines who was killed in action on February 25th, 2005 in Ramadi Iraq, and Staff Sergeant Christopher Diaz a Military Working Dog Handler, assigned to a Marine Special Operations Battalion Detachment who was killed in action on September 28, 2011 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
“The Long Walk is going to be a great experience while honoring the memory of our fallen brothers,” said Steven Walls, formerly of Kilo Company 3rd Battalion 7th Marines. He, along with Devon Richio formerly of 4th Civil Affairs Group, and Andrew Einstein, formerly of 4th Civil Affairs Group, will be making the 100 mile journey with their three dogs, Ava, Kyra, and Gunner.
Steven Walls was the beneficiary of the Animal Recruit Initiative (ARI) – a project started by Dr. Larry Rebbecchi of the Philadelphia Animal Hospital, which pairs returning Iraq War Veterans with a new puppy; that is how Steven came to form a bond with his dog Ava. Now, she’ll be accompanying him and his comrades on this incredible walk and tribute to New York.
There’s a lot of talk nowadays of what is right and what is wrong, what’s politically correct and what’s incorrect. But this walk, that three brothers are about to undertake, has nothing to do politics or media exposure or recognition. This walk is about three Marines and their service dogs, trying to cope with living in the civilian world. This walk is about stepping away from the normality of civilian life and confronting PTSD by taking a Long Walk and dealing with the issues facing GWOT Veterans. This walk is about finding answers in ourselves, answers we haven’t found group therapy sessions, a range, or in the bottom of a bottle. This walk is about locating, closing with, and destroying the enemy.
All proceeds raised, not used for the walk, will be split between an art scholarship in Corporal Thornton’s name; and the Staff Sergeant Diaz Foundation, “The Dawgz Project”. Donations can be made to their GoFundMe Account: http://www.gofundme.com/thelongwalkusmc
*Dates and distances of travel are approximate and may be subject to change
Steven Walls at 760-567-3481 firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Einstein at (856) 906-0439 email@example.com
USMC Sergeant Devon Richio is a Lieutenant with the Philadelphia Fire Department where he began in 2008. Devon previously served as an Aviation Firefighter with Marine Wing Support Squadron 472 where he deployed to Iraq in 2009, and with 4th Civil Affairs Group (now 2nd Civil Affairs Group) as a Civil Affairs Non-commissioned Officer and deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. His personal awards include a Combat Action Ribbon and Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal. His service dog is K-9 Kyra.
USMC Sergeant Steven Walls is a Firefighter with the Philadelphia Fire Department where he began in 2012. Steven previously served as an Infantryman with 3rd Battalion 7th Marines where he deployed to Iraq in 2004, 2005, and 2007. His personal awards include a Navy Achievement Medal with Combat Valor device and two gold stars in lieu of third award, Combat Action Ribbon and Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal. His service dog is K-9 Ava.
USMC Sergeant Andrew Einstein is a Police Officer in Westampton Towsnhip New Jersey where he began in 2013. Andrew previously served as an Aviation Firefighter with Marine Wing Support Squadron 472 where he deployed to Iraq in 2009, and with 4th Civil Affairs Group (now 2nd Civil Affairs Group) as a Civil Affairs Non-commissioned Officer and deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. His personal awards include a Purple Heart, Navy Achievement Medal with a gold star in lieu of second award, Combat Action Ribbon, and Select Marine Corps Reserve Medal with gold star in lieu of second award. His service dog is K-9 Gunner.
Day 1: 11.8 miles
- Depart Liberty Bell
- Arrive Philadelphia Fire Academy
- 5200 Pennypack St,Philadelphia, Pa
Day 2: 13.5 miles
- Depart Philadelphia Fire Academy
- Arrive Tullytown Fire Company
- 100 Bordentown Rd, Tullytown, PA 19007
Day 3: 10.4 miles
- Depart Tullytown Fire Company
- Arrive Trenton Fire Department Rescue 1
- 244 Perry St, Trenton NJ, 08608
Day 4: 16.7 miles
- Depart Prospect Heights Fire Company #1
- Arrive Monmouth Junction Fire Department
- 573 Ridge Road, Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852
Day 5: 11.8 miles
- Department Monmouth Junction Fire Department
- Arrive Highland Park Volunteer Fire Department
- 220 S. 5th Ave, Highland Park, NJ 08904
Day 6: 7.8 miles
- Department Highland Park Volunteer Fire Department
- Arrive Hopelawn Engine Company #1
- 127 Loretta St, Hopelawn, NJ 08861
Day 7: Distance TBT
- Depart Hopelawn Engine Company #1
- Transport into Staten Island by FDNY
- Arrive: Exact address TBT
Day 8: Distance TBT
- Depart to FDNY Fireboat dock, transport to Manhattan by FDNY
- Arrive Lower Manhattan
- Depart to Freedom Tower
Day 9: September 11, 2015
- Participate in 9/11 memorial service and other functions with FDNY