Early bird tickets for Baltimore’s BEST party on sale now!

Veteran's 7,100-kilometer journey to honor fallen service members ends in Baltimore

Mike Viti's 232-day journey to honor fallen service members ended in Baltimore.

Mike Viti's 232-day journey to honor fallen service members ended Saturday in Baltimore at the Army-Navy football game. 

It began in April in Washington state. Viti walked down the West Coast to San Francisco, across the southern states through the summer heat, then headed up the East Coast.  

He walked one kilometer for each of the members of the military killed in action since the "Global War on Terror" began 13 years ago -- more than 6,800 people. 

Along the way, the 29-year-old retired Army captain who was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions in Afghanistan, carried flags on which he wrote down the names of the fallen. He met with the families of five dozen fallen service members on his journey.

"I walked to honor their sacrifice," Viti said of the fallen. "As a combat veteran and a grateful American, I'm not going to forget their sacrifice."

The Army-Navy game holds a special significance for Viti. He played fullback with the Black Knights during his four years at West Point and served as captain his senior year. 

Viti dedicated the final two kilometers to one of his former teammates -- Chase Prasnicki -- and a former Navy football player he had played against, J.P. Blecksmith. Both were killed in action. Survivors of each joined Viti on the final leg of the journey.

Viti, a Nevada resident, left behind his wife and quit his job to embark on the hike, which stretched to a total of 7,100 kilometers. He was joined on the road by a friend and fellow veteran, Mark Faldowski, who drove a support vehicle and handled logistics. They camped, stayed in private homes and cheap hotels.  

Viti started a foundation, Legacies Alive, that aims to bring awareness of and comfort to the families of fallen service members. 

"I want to make sure they are not forgotten," he said. 

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
45°