My name is David Madden, and I am hiking the length of the United States from Edmundston, New Brunswick, Canada (just across the border from Madawaska, the northernmost town in Maine) to Key West, Florida. I began on July 16, 2007 and anticipate finishing in mid-February 2008. Along the way, I'll be passing through forests, cities, beaches, suburbs, small towns, and everything in between.
Most importantly, though, I am hiking for Fisher House Foundation, a charity that builds and manages houses where families of wounded veterans can stay for free near military hospitals around the USA. Please consider donating via this site to help out those who risk their lives to defend our freedom and way of life. And check back frequently for updates on my progress!
The total length of my journey is 3,000 miles. A $30 donation equates to $.01 per mile; $60 is $.02 per mile; $90 is $.03 per mile; $120 is $.04 per mile. Any donation you can make is greatly appreciated.
Cheers, David Madden
The Fisher House™ Program
The Fisher House™ program is a unique private-public partnership that supports America's military in their time of need. The program recognizes the special sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service by meeting a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
Because members of the military and their families are stationed worldwide and must often travel great distances for specialized medical care, Fisher House™ Foundation donates "comfort homes," built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times - during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury.
There is at least one Fisher House™ at every major military medical center to assist families in need and to ensure that they are provided with the comforts of home in a supportive environment. Annually, the Fisher House™ program serves more than 12,000 families, and have made available nearly 3 million days of lodging to family members since the program originated in 1990. By law, there is no charge for any family to stay at a Fisher House operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs; and Fisher House Foundation uses donations to reimburse the individual Fisher Houses operated by the Army, Navy, and Air Force. No family pays to stay at any Fisher House!
The Foundation has received the highest possible ratings from the “watch dog” organizations that evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of nonprofit organizations: For every dollar donated to Fisher House™ Foundation, 96 percent goes directly into Fisher House programs that help military families.
Online donations are completely safe and the most efficient way of donating (saving time and money), but checks are accepted. Please download and print the TFH Check Donation Form and mail the check and completed form to the address on the form.
Fisher House™ Foundation, Inc., is a not-for-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. Donations are tax-deductible to the maximum extent allowed by law.
"Dave, it's Steve Kaltenbaugh. I want you to know how much we all appreciate what you're doing. If you find yourself in Columbia, Maryland, look up my parents, aand I know they'll give you a good meal. Thank you brother."
"I learned of your walk from Bob Harris's message on "This Modern World". Thanks, Bob! And thanks, David, for doing this! If you are anywhere around Columbus, Mississippi, and need a place to crash, please let it be with Helen and me."
"David--I know your mom from Carlisle. I think this is a wonderful way to honor your walk. We watched Jeopardy religiously, and now I'm delighted to be able to read your blog. Good luck. Lissa Barrett"
"What a great effort on your part for the troops and their families... good luck, best wishes...food, shelter, laundry machines at your disposal in silver spring, MD! "
Richard K. Worthington
"Fisher House is a great cause and this is a fine thing to do, David. Found you via Bob Harris and This Modern World."
"Hooray for you! I hope that you're keeping a trip bird list. Frank and I are just sorry that you're already south of us here in the Adirondacks. Our very best wishes, Sally and Frank"
Just spoke to you on the phone. I'm impressed. Keep up the good work, I'll stay in touch via the blog.
All the best,
"Make new friends, but keep the old... one is silver and the other's gold. Well Dave, you are a golden friend so we want to support your trek!"
"David, it was great seeing you. I think what you're doing is amazing, and I wish you the best of luck in it! "
Susan and Jack Kaltenbaugh
"Hello Dave - we are Steve Kaltenbaugh's parents and we applaud what you are doing for Fisher House. As Steve said, you have a place to visit in Columbia, MD."
"You go, David!"
This is such a meaningful and necessary cause! I am glad to support your efforts!!!
"Heard about your trip from Tina (my cousin). We're happy
to contribute to your effort. If you get stuck someplace for
a while, get a copy of "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson
....it's a great story about a fellow "AT" hiker!
Good Luck!! Craig and Linda Wilson"
"I read about your hike across the USA in The Record. I hope the article brings many people to your blog and that they donate generously. I have been a very active supporter of the Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past few years. I send letters and care packages to Troops who have signed up on www.anysoldier.com. I am familiar with the Fisher House Foundation thru the Any Soldier website and am thrilled to be able to support them thru your great efforts. What a wonderful way to bring attention to a great organization.
I look forward to following your progress. I love your photos and the captions that go along with them. Good luck as you make your way across this great country of ours!
p.s. I have forwarded your blog to friends in the hopes that they will join me in supporting your amazing journey!"
"We love you David
John and Michele"
A most worthwhile pursuit! And I hear it's not so easy!
A friend of your mother's,
"Good Luck, David"
"David, Your mother told me about your quest and other accomplishments. Wish I could be on the trail with you. Keep going. Sylvie"
Good Luck on your trip and for making us aware of this wonderful Fisher House. Best Wishes for a safe and successful trip."
"This is really inspiring. Keep it up!"
"Just saw your Mom at Carlisle (what else) and you had called. That led to a conversation about what you were doing. I think that your hike is fantastic and Fisher House Foundation is a wonderful idea. Mr. Fagan is a disabled veteran so I will also do my part to help...........Paula Fagan"
Mary Stuart Gephart
What a wonderful effort you are making for a wonderful cause! It is truly appreciated by more people than you will ever know.
All the best to you,
Angus and Mary Stuart Gephart"
"I enjoy hearing "David" stories when I run into your Mom and this is my favorite so far! Such a great cause and we am so happy to help. Best of luck. John and Cathy Andrus"
G. Paul Bailey
"Good luck on your travels and thanks for your efforts"
"David- Enjoy your journey!! Pat Ward"
"This is what I call supporting our troops."
"Hi David, I'm P'93 and just saw your picture in the PAW. Tiger Tiger Tiger Rah Rah Rah!"
"Hi Dave - enjoyed watching you on Jeopardy, and anything Bob Harris recommends is okay by me. Hope you can reach your goal."
"Let me know if you need more listening materials - I'll send you a CD with lots of music to check out on your hike. "
"The company I work for has given us a paid holiday for Veteran's Day. Therefore I decided to calculate what my pay would be for that day and donate it. Rather than be paid for doing nothing, I'd rather pay to help someone doing something extraordinary. Thank you."
I talked with Rohit P. the other day and he told me about your hike. I thought he had one two many drinks but he was telling the truth! With Vetern's day on Monday I knew I had to donate. Best of luck!"
"It was very nice to meet you at the PANYC event in October. I wish you continued success on your mission, for a cause close to our hearts. "
"Hi, David -- Missed you at the Federal League Winter Meeting, but I guess you were busy! It sounds like you're enjoying the adventure and doing some good, too. Best of luck."
"Looks so exciting - please let us know when you will be by us so we can hopefully get together..."
"keep treking david! key west is beautiful...your cause"
"Keep up the great work, David! You are showing your true AFS spirit, congratulations on your fundraising success. We are happy to help Fisher House. Sue and Bob Fershing"
mary claire cancelmo
"Good luck with the rest of your trip David, and congratulations on fulfulling a dream while doing a good thing! Best wishes from the Cancelmo Family"
"David, this is a great cause, and much appreciated. Let us NEVER FORGET OUR VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES.
Thanks and GOD BLESS AMERICA,
"Hi David - all the Keeners support you! What a great idea - raising funds for a wonderful purpose and keeping fit at the same time - enjoy the Christmas season - Tom Keener"
"Thanks for what you are doing for Fisher House!"
"Go David-- Thank you!"
"It was an honor to meet you and introduce you to many of our soldiers during your tour at the Active Duty Rehabilitation Unit at the VA in Augusta, GA. Your work directly affects the lives of these young men and women by allowing them to be near their loved ones during their rehabilitation. This is often an indispensable element in maintaining the emotional and psychological well-being of these young men and women. Thank you for your efforts and good luck on the remainder of your journey."
"Go David- you're on the homestretch now!! Good luck in the land of Gators, and please visit us in Orange Park if you can- Lauren Hoffman and family. "
Eric & Karen Kuwana
We don't know you, but want to support what you are doing. Good luck on your walk -- it is a very fine cause."
Terry and Tom Melo
We saw a brochure about Fisher House at the Arena Stage. We saw your journey posted on the website, and think what you're doing is fantastic, for the fantasic troops and their families. Key West is definetly the right direction to be heading right now as we are freezing up here in D.C. right now! Best of luck on the rest of your journey!
Terry and Tom Melo
Silver Spring, MD"
"Dave, thanks for devoting yourself to this great cause. We enjoyed having you at our home in Orange Park, FL. Hope you liked the snake! Good luck on your way down to Key West!"
It was great to see you over Christmas and to hear about this amazing journey you've been on--and for such a great cause! Safe arrival in Key West next month!
"Change your socks."
Wow, what an undertaking. I have been the manager at Fisher House, Andrews AFB for 15 years, so I know what your support means to the men and women of our military. I am also a veteran, as were my father, siblings, husband and oldest son, who served two tours in Iraq. My youngest son, Geroge, attends Embrey Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona and is in the ROTC program. He will become an Air Force officer upon graduation. I understand you will be in Daytona tomorrow and I hope he has a break in his hectic schedule to come out and greet you upon your arrival. There are hundres of ROTC students at the school who will one day serve. Today was their first day back since holiday break, but he is hoping to energize the cadets into doing something to help you out. Your trek brings such a poignant focus on our program and I'm sure that those you meet along the way are inspired to find ways to help. Thank you
With tremendous admiration
"Hi Dave. My name is Sara. I found your blog/story through the Fisher House website. You don't know me, but I am very supportive of your cause. I have friends who have been put up at 2 different Fisher Houses. Also, my husband was a soldier in the 82nd Airborne, and was KIA on September 29, 2007 in Afghanistan. We have already had one benefit in his honor to raise money for the Fisher House, and are having another one in Charlotte, NC on February 9th. I think what you're doing is wonderful. And no matter how much money you raise, you are heloing to make a positive difference in the lives of others, as well as bringing awareness to a cause about which so many people are unaware. You're in my thoughts, and I know many soldiers and their families who will be so appreciative of your efforts when I tell them about you. Thank you for what you are doing. Be safe and good luck.
"Thanks for your commitment to improving the conditions for our wounded warriors and their families by raising money for Fisher House operations. Take care."
"Good Luck & God Bless"
"Love what you're doing Dave, keep up the good work! Hope to see you again next reunions!
Thank you so much for your incredible deed of sacrifice, love and support for our veterans. The families at the West Palm Beach VAMC Fisher House say --THANK YOU. "
We have been a supporter of the Fisher House for several years and believe strongly in what they do for our outstanding Service Men and Women and families. Proud to be a part of your amazing adventure for others.
In memory of my father-in-law who was a Marine vet from WWII."
"I saw you walking on the 7 mile bridge. You are an insperation to me. You just do what you have to do. A good cause. Something so wrong with our country. Something right about you."
"Thanks for doing this and bringing attention to such a worthwhile organization. God Bless. "
"David, congratulations on completing your walk! I know your mom through Carlisle and just found out about your very worthy endeavor. What a great way to help our troops. Enjoyed reading your blog. Merry Beckett "
"Congratulations, David! What a wonderful project."
" We appreciate your effort as Fisher House is a great cause! We need comfortable lodgings for the parents of the wounded soldiers as these parents stay and visit with their wounded sons and daughters. This is what Fisher House is all about..
This modest contribution comes from our CULDESAC in Sun City, Hilton Head SC.