College friends walk across America in honor of attack victims

By Paul Glader The Associated Press
Thursday January 03, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO — Two college buddies quit their jobs and began hiking across America Tuesday to memorialize the victims of the recent terrorist attacks. 

Bill Faria, 22, and Josh Kampf, 23, plan to walk 3,500 miles and cross 15 states to arrive in New York on Sept. 11, 2002. They are sleeping in a tent, carrying minimal supplies and hoping to meet many people on the way. 

“In places far away from New York, there is not a lot people can do besides fly a flag. This is an opportunity for people to come out and walk with us for a couple miles ... and to show the people of New York how deeply this touched us,” Faria said by cellular telephone while walking in east Los Angeles. 

Faria and Kampf launched their cross-country trek Tuesday morning from the Santa Monica Pier. The recent Johns Hopkins University graduates are hauling about 4,000 small American flags, which they plan to distribute to families of attack victims once they arrive in New York. 

The idea took shape while the two New York Yankees fans watched the World Series crowd sing “God Bless America,” Faria said. 

“We wanted to do something to get us over the funk we were feeling. We wanted to participate,” Faria said. “Being pretty outdoorsy guys, we decided to walk across the country.” 

Formed as a nonprofit corporation, Walk for America, the men have $10,000 in pledges so far and hope to raise the $30,000 to cover costs of the flag displays. Any additional money will go to a scholarship fund. 

Faria of Billerica, Mass., quit his job at a Boulder, Colo., biotech firm to pursue the coast-to-coast hike. Kampf of Cheshire, Conn., had just moved to Boulder to work as a ski instructor. 

“When I told my parents I was quitting my job to walk across America, they had visions of me being a hippie or a nomad or something,” Faria said. “They warmed up to the idea.” 

With extra socks, sleeping bags, and waterproof gear, the men plan to camp along their route and friends will deliver food and supplies. 

“We have taken away all the minutae of daily life,” Faria said. “We have no apartment. No cars. No bills to pay. We simply have to walk.” 


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