DE PERE, Wis. — His back was wondering if its request for R&R had gotten lost, and his legs were about to dial 911. As for his feet, the bearers of all this misery, they were just flat-out begging for mercy.
The team begins at Lambeau Field and then heads east to Luxemburg, and then Kewaunee, and then south on country roads along the Lake Michigan coast. They walk in combat boots, carry roughly a 45-pound rucksack, their 4th H.O.O.A.H. banner and an American flag.
They average 20 miles a day over the seven days, but some days they’ll walk as much as 27 miles over 12 hours to reach their next checkpoint stop. The march concludes at Veterans Park in Milwaukee on July 3.
Last year, two of the four members were forced to drop out because of severe blistering on their feet, with one member nearly losing a pair of toenails.
“You have to prepare mentally,’’ he said. “You have to be ready to be in pain and keep going.’’
Skiff handpicked this years’ team and will be joined by fellow St. Norbert student Andrew Lopez, as well as Alex Kaufman and Nic Hanke from UW-Green Bay. All are part of the ROTC program and Skiff, Kaufman and Hanke are also part of the National Guard.
It’s a huge commitment for a college student, most of whom prefer some personal time when away from school. But Hanke felt it was necessary he join.