Veteran walks from SLC to Wendover

Posted at 8:43 PM, May 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-24 22:43:05-04

SALT LAKE CITY — One veteran is spending Memorial Day weekend a bit differently than most: by walking 100 miles.

Step by step, Jason Helton is making his way from Salt Lake City to Wendover.

“I don’t want to sleep tonight," he said. "It’s going to be the coldest, so I’d rather hike through the night to stay warm.”

He’s not just doing this for fun — he’s doing it to remember those who lost their lives serving our country.

“Because you can’t forget them, you know," Helton said. "Sometimes you just feel compelled to do something, and this is it for me.”

Helton served with the Marines and the Air Force, retiring after 21 years of service.

“This is just kind of wrapping up that whole process so I can put a lot of things behind me," he said, "and also a perfect time to do it because it’s Memorial Day.”

He’s hoping to make it to Wendover in 35 hours — putting him there by Saturday afternoon.

“But we’ll see how my feet are doing,” he laughed.

While for many, Memorial Day is the kickoff to summer and time to spend by the pool or camping with family, Helton says we can’t forget the real meaning of the holiday — and the reason he’s walking.

“I’m still here and I still have all my digits," he said. "A lot of people aren’t here and don’t have anything.”

This isn’t the first time he’s done something like this — he made a similar journey three years ago.

“This kind of bookends some things, just remembering the guys that passed, because that was difficult to deal with at times," Helton said.

He says he hopes as people celebrate this weekend, they take time to remember the people who lost their lives fighting for our freedom.