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Giant Steps: Former N.Y. Giant Walks Across America to Raise Money for 9/11 Rescue Workers

Oct. 11--Former New York Giant George Martin arrived in Culpeper, Va., around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

He wasn t riding in a fancy vehicle, instead he was being followed by one a white Chevy Trailblazer with the words a Journey for 9/11 written across the front.

The 54-year-old former defensive end dressed in a bright yellow windbreaker and black spandex leggings is walking across America for a cause.

And that reason is to raise a minimum of $10 million to help provide medical care for the surviving rescue and recovery workers who rushed to Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in Manhattan.

My legs are doing great, Martin said, walking along U.S. 29 about 30 miles north of Charlottesville. I keep changing my shoes to protect my feet.

I feel pretty good, he added.

Martin left the New York side of the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 16 in the hopes of walking to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco -- a nearly 3,500 hike, which he expects will take him about four months to complete.

Martin travels with an entourage, who ride in an SUV behind him, including a driver, medical technician, and an IT person to properly document the trip, according to Media Coordinator Jay Winuk.

If you re unable to catch Martin in person, just log on to his Web site and follow his progress live through a satellite tracking service.

There s a lot of the steps, said Winuk, who added that Martin walks four miles an hour. But George does every step.

According to Martin s Web site, the idea came about after he began thinking of rescue workers who became sick with respiratory problems and other diseases after inhaling toxic fumes caused by the incident.

In addition to Martin s goal, participating hospitals and medical care partners will donate a dollar-for-dollar match to whatever Martin raises for the medical services of the Heroes of Ground Zero charity organization.

I think it s the greatest thing in the world to do something that you believe in, he said.

So far, Martin has raised $1.2 million for the cause.

For Martin, walking across the United States has always been a dream.

In the last 24 days, the lifelong athlete crossed six states plus the District of Columbia.

Martin says his day starts early with a light breakfast. Then he begins his trek.

During the afternoons, he said he stops for lunch before taking off again.

As far as lodging, Martin says he usually sleeps in parks or stretches out in the back of his SUV.

I m looking at this as a passionate journey, he said Wednesday. I feel great.

Prior to his trip, Martin trained for three months this summer.

And he says the warm weather hasn t hurt either.

It s good as opposed to cold weather, said the South Carolina native. I have a good team supporting me.

Rhonda Simmons can be reached at 825-0771 ext. 125 or rsimmons@starexponent.com

Want to give?

Visit ajourneyfor911.com and click on the Make a donation link on the left side of the page.

You also can track the cross-country progress of former New York Giants defensive end George Martin through the Web site.

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