- March 19, 2019
-- Across America for Wounded Heroes founder, C. Ivan Stoltzfus has joined forces with Operation Second Chance (OSC), a nonprofit dedicated to providing emergency assistance to our nations wounded, injured and ill Veterans. The journey has a joint goal; to raise awareness of the many sacrifices made on behalf of our nations Heroes, as well as raise funds for OSC's mission. With Ivan's farming background, the journey will be completed in grandiose style by driving his modified 1948 John Deere tractor, which he refers to as "Johnabilt", across the United States and back. While the primary goal of the journey is to raise awareness for OSC's mission, the most rewarding part for Ivan is meeting veterans along the route and having the opportunity to share their story both on his daily blog and in his future book.
Ivan's journey will have him departing from Maryland, heading across the United States to Red Lodge, Montana, arriving in time for one of OSC's Veteran Retreats. From Red Lodge, Ivan will travel south through Texas on the way to his home in Sarasota, Florida. Ivan's Johnabilt tractor will reach top speeds daily of 14 MPH, and the entire journey will span 6 months and more than 5,500+ miles.
From a young age, Ivan was captivated by his father's stories of traveling across the US, and he always had a dream of one day being able follow in his footsteps to also travel the country. Ivan had always remembered his father's words telling him; "Ivan, when you have a dream, follow it." But it wasn't until post farming retirement when Ivan woke one morning and realized he had to commit to making it happen. While going through the process of what it would take to make this dream a reality, Ivan realized he needed a purpose to accompany his life-long goal. Although he never served in the military, he always had an admiration and devotion to those who had. This admiration developed into the idea to travel the country to raise awareness for veteran and first responder causes. Ivan discovered Operation Second Chance through a mutual friend and fell in love with their mission. At that point, Ivan solidified his decision to cross the country and back at 14 MPH to support OSC.
Operation Second Chance is a 501c3 non-profit founded in 2004 to provide emergency financial assistance to wounded, injured and ill service members and their families. For many veterans who return from the battlefield, the fight really begins at home when they return. Some are faced with financial hardships which can be a real struggle for these proud war fighters. OSC seeks to relieve some of the financial strains, allowing them to focus on their injury, rehabilitation, and reintegration to civilian life. OSC has received three consecutive 4-Star ratings from Charity Navigator, and was rated the top charity to donate to in Maryland by Business.org. For more information about OSC and Ivan's journey across the USA visit www.OperationSecondChance.org