Former U.S. Marine, retired Law Enforcement professional, and ordained minister, Danny Garcia, has got his walking shoes on. Garcia will be walking across most of the United States, beginning this summer, with Honor Walk 2020 — “America Salutes You.” The walk’s aim is to express gratitude to veterans and first responders.
“I think this is going to be a great experience and a tremendous learning experience,” he said of his upcoming trek.
The walk will begin on July 4th in Indianapolis. Rusty West, President of Market Scan Information Systems, has teamed with Shaklee Corp., Mike Wallace, and JD Motorsports’ No. 0 Chevrolet to sponsor the event. The #0 Chevrolet will be running in the inaugural Xfinity Series race at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Garcia’s four-month walk will go from Indianapolis to veterans and first responder sites in Beaumont, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, the eastern seaboard, and NY. Along the way, he will pay tribute to fallen Marine brothers and make presentations to first responders.
The Honor Walk will culminate with a benefit concert on October 29th at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville at the “Guitar Legends 4.” The concert is slated to honor Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top & Legends.
This would be quite the undertaking for someone in their 20s, but for Garcia, who has truly walked all over the world for honorable causes, it is just another walk in the park, so to speak. He’s logged more than 26,000 miles across six continents. This year, he’ll be walking a couple of thousand more. In case you didn’t know, Garcia is 75 years young, which makes his accomplishments and this walk even more impressive.
Garcia’s message for this year’s walk is simple: “Thank you, veterans, and first responders. We love you for all you and your families are doing for us.” Talking with him, one can’t help but be taken in by his enthusiasm, his positivity, and boundless energy, which would seem like you were speaking to someone decades younger.
Garcia was born in Spanish Harlem in 1945 and has faced adversity head-on his entire life. Many in his community picked on him at a young age because his skin was too light. Later after his parents enrolled him in a Catholic school, he was picked on because his skin was too dark.
He had two different stints in the Marine Corps. His first was during the Cuban Missile Crisis and he was soon stationed at Guantanamo Bay. After his second hitch was complete in 1975, he went to work for Law Enforcement in the San Diego area and became an ordained minister.
Reading all of the long-distance walks that Garcia has conducted reads like a film script. His treks began in 1978. In his numerous walks around the world, he has had to deal with danger, the elements, and more. Garcia was abducted by Palestinian terrorists during a trek in Gaza but was released unharmed. He has also been attacked by snakes and has had to deal with tornadoes while spreading the word for peace and the safety of children. But as he said, “God always puts me in a place that he wants me in, and will open doors for me.”
As he says on his website, the purpose of his walks has been to facilitate, promote, and support the needs of children and their families, which include providing aid to victims of fire, poverty, flood, earthquake, or war. Danny inspires hope, shares spiritual wisdom, and renders aid to the needy. He encourages others to do the same while teaching people how to communicate with respect.
While most of his walks are done solo, he’s not alone. He said he gets some time to speak to God and it keeps him going. But he also gets some support along the way. Marine Corps Humvees followed him for one of his walks in the United States. And due to his 20-year law enforcement career, police officers will walk along with him or provide escorts during his walks.
Everything that is raised during his walks is given to charity. His wife Jacqueline is a retired Lieutenant Colonel of the U.S. Air Force. They both live off of their retirement. They chair Global Walk Corporation, a nonprofit organization under the umbrella of the 501(c)(3) Fellowship Network, which provides spiritual covering and accountability for the ministry of Global Walk.
This year there is an added incentive for the “America Salutes You” walk for veterans and first responders. The coronavirus pandemic has greatly affected 184 countries and the recent events in the United States show that we need healing now more than ever.
“I’m doing this because our world is broken and needs healing,” Garcia said. “The Band-Aid fix isn’t working and now God will tell us what to do,” he added.
He finished our conversation with a bible passage that he felt would sum up what he hopes to accomplish with this walk. “Look up 2 Chronicles 7:14 in your Bible,” he said. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”