100-year-old veteran from Minnesota finishes 100-mile walk to raise funds for COVID-19 relief

A 100-year-old World War II veteran has completed his 100-mile walk on Wednesday, Aug. 5 and was joined by more than 100 people on his final stretch to the finish line.

Micky Nelson—of Clark Grove, Minnesota—successfully completed his 100-mile walk to raise funds for COVID-19 food programs.

Nelson crossed the finish line at his church just three blocks away from the house that he was born in and still lives in. Those who joined him included members of a World War II reenactment group, Salvation Army staff, and many family members and friends.

After finishing, State Rep. Peggy Bennett read a proclamation from the Minnesota House of Representatives honoring Nelson, and the Salvation Army presented him with a medal.

Nelson served in an armored division, maintaining tanks. He also founded and operated a successful bus business for 58 years. Now, he is serving in another role as a fundraiser.

Nelson decided that he would walk a mile or two every day back in May until he reached 100 miles to raise money for COVID-19 hunger relief.

“I grew up during the Great Depression and, living on the farm, we always had enough to eat," Nelson said. “But I remember how people who were struggling were lined up in bread lines. With coronavirus, I was seeing so many people laid off from their jobs that I thought there must be something I could do to help."

According to a release, when Nelson started his 100-mile trek back in May, Nelson thought he might raise $5,000 for his local Salvation Army’s feeding programs. But as of this week, Nelson’s efforts have raised nearly $110,000.

Nelson said he is hoping people will support his effort to help others. He selected the Salvation Army-Northern Division to benefit from his fundraiser because they supply food and emergency assistance throughout Minnesota and North Dakota. Salvation Army service centers have been on the front lines of food distribution since the pandemic began; groceries’ distributions have increased as much as 900% in some locations.

“Mickey’s fundraiser has been an enormous gift," Lt. Colonel Dan Jennings, commander of The Salvation Army Northern Division, said. "Because of COVID-19, our staff is working overtime and our resources are being stretched like never before. Mickey’s selfless effort is helping an incredible number of people."

To support Nelson on his initiative to provide hunger relief during the pandemic, click here.