KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Ken Brock left Amvets Post 86 on Feb. 1 on a cross-country walk to promote post-traumatic stress disorder programs at Wounded Warrior Project.
With his walk completed, the U.S. Army veteran will return to where it all started – back at the Amvets Post – on Sunday, July 14, at 3 p.m.
Brock is scheduled to arrive at the Jacksonville train station Sunday at 6:39 a.m. Brock originally was going to stop at Palatka, but he changed his destination because the Jacksonville station allowed him to bring his 100-pound supply cart home.
“Palatka is a non-manned station; Jacksonville has people who can unload my cart,” Brock said.
Once home, Brock will get a police escort at 2 p.m. from State Roads 21 and 100 to the Post at 6685 Brooklyn Bay Rd. Supporters are encouraged to welcome Brock home along SR 21 at 2:30 p.m., according to Post web site administrator Tim Russell.
Brock will be formally welcomed by Keystone Heights Mayor Karen Lake and other dignitaries.
He had a similar sendoff by Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, officials during last week’s Fourth of July parade.
“It was amazing to walk in the parade,” Brock said. “It took me five months to walk to Idaho. Once I got there, I still had some more walking to do. But that last mile was the best.”
With residents standing five-deep along Sherman Avenue, Brock was featured in the parade doing what he does best – walking with his cart and service dog, Pam.
His return trip hit a temporary roadblock when Amtrak said Pam wasn’t allowed on the train. The company later made an exception following an investigative story by a Spokane, Wash., television station.
Brock walked more than 2,650 miles. He faced several obstacles – two weekends of deadly tornadoes, deadly floods, thunderstorms, a collision with a tractor-trailer and snow – but he still arrived six days ahead of schedule.
His scheduled appearance on “Fox and Friends” was pushed back until he returned to Florida so the network can do the interview from a studio.
Once he returns to Keystone Heights, Brock said he wants to buy a car. After that, he wants to find a project that will fill the void created by a five-month journey that was as much about self-discovery as bringing attention to WWP.
“I’m not going to fall back into that trap [of not staying busy],” Brock said. “I have to figure out what I’m going to do with my life. I will stay busy. I know that much.”
Brock said he’s interested in buying a car he found in Largo.
“I’m tired of asking by buddies for rides,” he said. “I’ll need a ride to Largo, of course, but after that, I’ll have even more freedom.”
It’s 165 miles from Keystone Heights to Largo. If Brock can’t find a ride, it should only take five days to walk it.
“After what I’ve been through, that’s just a hop, skip and a jump for Pam and me,” he said.