The Path, Pain, and Purpose of the Pennsylvania Pair
Photo courtesy: Patrick Mansell
STATE COLLEGE, Penn. (Oct. 29) — Imagine walking a marathon, all 26.2 miles of it. Then add about eight more miles. And do that every day for five days in a row. That’s what retired Army Rangers and longtime friends Joe Webb and Cody McCormick did recently when they walked 170 miles in five days across Pennsylvania to raise money and awareness for Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).
The pair started at Delaware Water Gap — a picturesque overlook on the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border and near their hometown of East Stroudsburg — and headed toward State College, Pennsylvania. After a promising start, the duo began to feel the physical toll.
“It set in around the end of day two when we were at about 70 miles, and things started getting pretty tough,” Cody said. “But we knew we had a long way to go, so there was no slowing down.”
Throughout intermittent rain and throbbing legs and feet, they had each other to lean on.
“We pulled each other through,” Cody said. “Anytime where I was hurting a little worse than Joe, he helped me. When he was hurting worse, I’d yank him. It was truly a team effort.”
That team was more than just the two of them. A hometown friend, Ken Werkheiser, allowed the pair to sleep in his camper every night and followed them in it every step of the way.
They also had company each day, most of them total strangers who just wanted to express gratitude for what Joe and Cody were doing. Like the elderly woman, who, through tears in her eyes, handed the pair $40 and simply said, “Thank you.”
Fellow veterans also stopped to speak with the guys, none more impactful than the man wearing a Vietnam veteran hat on Route 11 outside Bloomsburg.
“He said that a few years back, he never would’ve been able to wear that hat,” Cody recalled. “But because of guys like us that were out there doing what we were doing…it basically made him feel like he’s able to feel pride in what he has done.”
Moments like that propelled Joe and Cody toward their finish line: the Old Main building on the campus of Penn State University in State College, where Joe graduated in 2012.
“We were so beat up by day five, but it was the home stretch, and once we got to State College, it was kind of like a second wind,” Joe said. “I felt great, even though I couldn't really bend my leg and my ankles were completely swollen. It felt so good to be there.”
It marked the end of their physical journey while the road to recovery for most veterans continues.
“It wasn't just about raising money over that five-day period,” Joe said. “It kind of shifted focus on what we were doing, on what Wounded Warrior Project is doing, and just to keep in mind to support veterans at all times.”
You can still support injured veterans and their families through Joe and Cody’s page. WWP warriors and their families never pay a penny for any WWP program or service because they paid their dues on the battlefield.
Contact: Chris Obarski — Public Relations, email@example.com, 904.570.0823
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.