5 pairs of shoes and 3,300 miles later, veteran finishes walk across America

NEWBURYPORT, Mass. — He left Newburyport in May and five pairs of shoes and 3,300 miles later, a 71-year-old veteran is back home.

William Shuttleworth walked all the way across America from his home in Newburyport, Massachusetts, to San Diego. Fourteen states in 110 days.

"My longest day was 52 miles. My second longest was 46," Shuttleworth told Boston 25 News.

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We were with Shuttleworth when he began his epic adventure in May. He says he got an up-close look at a side of America few have ever experienced.

"You think the country's coming apart it’s a dangerous world but you put five pairs of shoes on and walk across the country you see some of the most gracious, kind, loving, hard-working Americans that want the same slice of the American pie you and I had," he said.

The U.S. Air Force veteran was on a one-man mission to raise awareness for veteran's needs, including homelessness and mental health issues.

Along the nearly four-month trek that he dubbed "Vets Don't Forget Vets," Shuttleworth stopped and visited with veterans at places like VFW halls and coffeehouses. He says the reception around the country was unbelievable.

"I've had motorcades leading me in, motorcycles, fireman, police departments. I've had people open their hearts and doors and restaurants to me celebrating on what we’re trying to do on behalf of veterans," Shuttleworth said.

He says he only took five days off, not because of injury, but to meet up with family and had very few close calls.

"I had a couple of dogs that looked at me as if I was breakfast one day in Colorado, but I was able to skirt them. No trucker issues, no car issues," he said.

Shuttleworth was able to complete his walk across America nearly two months ahead of schedule.