SILVIS, Ill. - A retired farmer from Chester County -- C. Ivan Stoltzfus -- is well on his way across the country, driving his tractor from coast to coast to help out wounded veterans.
"I keep it around 14 or 15. I don't want to get the RPMs up too high," Stoltzfus said. "We have 1,199 miles on it since I left the Atlantic Ocean. Some days I do 100 miles; some days I do 40."
Stoltzfus is driving his 1948 John Deere from the Atlantic to the Pacific on a mission that began in April.
"I take all back roads," he said. "My destination is Cresten City, California. I'm going across America for the wounded warriors. I'm hoping to raise a million dollars.
"My heart has just been going out for those guys who are coming back and trying to fit in civilization," Stoltzfus continued. "A lot of them are feeling hopeless and I just want to bring awareness and let them know that we care."
With every stop, he meets a new hero.
"There's one that stands out the most to me," he recalled. "He's a wounded veteran, such a hero, so gracious and he said he wanted me to have this."
Now, a purple heart rides shotgun.
Stoltzfus's friends, Dick and Louise, are documenting every moment.
"Just trying to get as much footage or pictures wherever we go," Louise said. "It's just been a once in a lifetime experience."
It's an experience that's all worth it when reminded of what it signifies.
"It's not about me going across in a weird-looking tractor and a camper," Stoltzfus said. "It's about the cause, for the wounded warriors who paid the ultimate price that we can be free. That's what its all about."
To learn more about Stoltzfus's journey, visit helpamericanheroes.com
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