William Shuttleworth is a  U.S. Air Force veteran and a retired Special Education teacher and school superintendent.

William, this summer, walked 3,600 miles across America to raise awareness of veterans’ issues. He joined the Exchange Club of Greater Newburyport at the September 17th meeting. William shared the following anecdotes with the group, reported by Stuart Deane:

  • “I was a ‘camp host’ in California. I found three spots for homeless veterans. It was then that I said to myself, ‘I’m going to walk across this country.’”
  • “I had special permission from the Navaho Nation in Utah. They invited me into their homes – the first white man to be invited. Two elderly sons of the Navaho Code Talkers looked me up and down and said, ‘You’re in pretty good shape for a Caucasian.’”
  • “A man appropriately named Roger Goodheart, who is a huge man well over 300 pounds, hosted me for breakfast one morning, after which I walked for thirty miles before I heard a tornado siren. It was raining so hard I couldn’t see my feet. Just then Roger pulled up behind me and said, ‘Get in the truck.’ After we waited out the storm, he took me back out on my way. He was just delightful.”
  • “I was so taken by my guardian angels – sheriff’s deputies, policemen, firemen…Each of them sent messages ahead to the next town. I had the whole nation watching out for me.”
  • “I did newspaper, radio and television interviews all along the way. Fox News called me ‘the most famous pedestrian in the world,’ and MSNBC named me as a ‘hero of the month.’
  • “In Keenesburg, Colorado, I walked 36 miles in temperatures never below 100 degrees. Some firemen noticed that I was suffering heatstroke and gave me an intravenous and put me in cold water. Everyday people went out of their way to help me.”
  • In one Illinois town, I was met by military vehicles, fire, and police vehicles and decorated bicycles and taken to the Masonic Lodge for dinner. It was totally unexpected.”
  • “Everyone was afraid for me – bears, shootings, robbery… I’ll be 72 next week. I don’t live in fear anymore. If you let go of fear, there’s nothing that you can’t do.”
  • “A lot of people joined me in walking along the way, but they quickly discovered that they had other things to do.”
  • “A Vietnam double amputee, who worked in a garage on a roller board told me, ‘Your legs are my legs.’ That was my most touching moment.”
  • “The last ten days in California were the hardest. The temperature got up to 114 degrees. Even at night, it was still 100. That was the most testing of what a human being can do.”
  • “Ten or fifteen times a day someone would come up to take a selfie with me.”
  • “My favorite part of the day was breakfast in diners across America.”
  • “I went through five pairs of shoes.”