After 44 days of traveling 650 miles on foot, four Rossford High School students finally were able to stand at Ground Zero in New York City this afternoon.
It was a bittersweet feeling for the 17-year-olds, who started walking to the former site of the World Trade Center from Rossford on July 20 in a quest to raise $1 million for planned Sept. 11, 2001 memorials. Their trip included a stop in Shanksville, Pa., to visit the site where terrorists crashed United Airlines Flight 93 after passengers rushed the cockpit.
I m obviously excited to get it over with because it s been a really long journey, said senior Tad Millinger. But I really love touching people s lives. It s an amazing feeling just to know that the actions you re doing right now actually mean something to other people.
The teens Tad, Brandon Reinhard, Dustin Dean, and Chad Coulter walked an average of 18 miles a day. On Aug. 1, they crossed into Pennsylvania and trekked through Pittsburgh before stopping in Shanksville.
Earlier this week, the boys left Pennsylvania and entered New Jersey. They walked about 10 miles today to finish their journey.
On Sept. 11, the boys plan to give 80 percent of what they raise to the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation. The rest will go to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville.
So far, they have more than $10,000 in private pledges with more money expected because they reached their destination.
Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.