EL PASO — A 66-year-old Vietnam Army Veteran who walked more than 350 miles this summer is being credited with helping to raise more than $90,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project. The money will be used to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members.
Ron Stephens, a former Illinois House Representative and independent pharmacist walked one mile for every $100 that was raised by Doc’s Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy, and Dale’s Southlake Pharmacy in Decatur. Those funds were matched by Cardinal Health Foundation, the charitable arm for Cardinal Health, which serves as the pharmaceutical distributor for both.
Starting on May 24, Stevens visited Doc’s Pharmacy locations in Dwight, El Paso and Fairbury, as well as Sartoris Drugs of Pontiac, also a Doc’s Pharmacy affiliate. In all, Stevens visited all 18 Illinois locations. He ended his journey at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood on July 9.
“It was really neat to see him coming down the road carrying a big flag and wearing an ARMY hat,” said Taylor Potts, the manager at the El Paso location. “I hope we can do this next year, too.”
Several of the facilities helped raise money through bake sales and donations, said Terri Hodges, an employee at the Fairbury store.
“There was a lot of interest from local veteran’s groups and our community and it was very inspiring,” she said.
Doc’s Pharmacy spokesman Dave Ferricks said Ron deserved credit for helping with the fundraising effort, but customers, communities and employees also played a role.
“We couldn’t have have accomplished this without the support of a lot of people,” he said. “This will positively impact the lives of veterans and it is the least we could do for their selfless service to our country.” ___