MUD LAKE, Idaho -- Southern Chester County bade Ivan Stoltzfus fond Bon Voyage as he led a huge parade of tractors through Kennett Square on April 26 on his way westward.
So how are things going?
Stoltzfus, 67, and an RV big enough to accommodate overnights, were on their way across America to raise money for Wounded Warriors in a journey call “Across America for Wounded Heroes.” Earlier he began at the Atlantic Ocean in Manasquan, New Jersey, filling a jar with its water, and vowing to drive across the nation and empty it into the Pacific at Crescent City, California.
About three months have gone by, and he’s still on the road. At last report on Friday, he was in Idaho, beating the bushes for contributions and making friends along the way.
He recently met up with his daughter, Tina Martin, and her family in Wyoming where they spent some time together and talked about the trip so far.
“Everything’s going well. He’s taking it show and raised almost $80,000,” Martin said,.
When the families met up in Wyoming, Martin said, they changed the tires and spark plugs on the tractor, but so far there have been no problems with the vehicle.
Martin said her father has a large following throughout the United States – “a lot of great people” who watch the website and see where he is. Often, she added, they catch up with him or flag him down along the way to chat and donate cash or checks to the cause.
When Martin was asked if there had been any dangerous or exciting happenings along the way, she said the only exceptional event was a tornado close by in South Dakota where they had to “batten down the hatches.”
As far as the response from the 13 states they have been through, she said, only Pennsylvania balked at having the tractor on the highways, and even they gave a police escort. Otherwise, the states and their officials have been welcoming and enthusiastic.
Stoltzfus’ target date for arriving in Crescent City is Aug. 9.
After that, Martin said, he intends to fly back to the East rather than return by tractor because he has appointments to ride in several autumn parades.
Stoltzfus demonstrated a large body of support locally when he drive his tractor and recreation vehicle through Kennett Square followed by a parade of almost an hour of tractors and their drivers from the area. He said at the time he aimed to raise $1 million for the Wounded Warrior project that supports military personnel who have been injured in battle.
Stoltzfus is a farmer and auctioneer, farmer and real estate broker who lives in Honey Brook. His trip can be tracked at www.HelpAmericanHeroes.com.