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Colo. man stops in Williamsport during trek for troops

June 27, 2008|By THAISI H. VELASQUEZ

WILLIAMSPORT -- Some place bright yellow ribbon decals on their vehicles to show support for U.S. troops.

Others fly American flags.

To demonstrate his support, Stephen Horn set out to walk 1,600 miles from the Capitol steps in Denver to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Horn hopes his trek will draw media attention and enable him to spread his word. His message of "support the troops", which is written across the back of his rain jacket, sums up this mission.

"I felt like this was something I really needed to do," Horn said "I think it's better than sitting on a bar stool ranting and raving."

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According to Horn, his main point is that people need to back the troops, regardless of their views on war.

"We need to support the people who sign up to fight and protect our freedom," Horn said. "I don't think people really realize the difference between the troops and politics. They are two separate things."

Horn, a carpenter and ski tourist photographer, began his voyage April 2 in his home state of Colorado. He walked on U.S Highway 36 from Denver to Indianapolis. From there, he walked on the National Road (U.S. 40) from Indianapolis to Cumberland, Md. Since then, he has been on the C&O Canal towpath, and Tuesday was in Williamsport.

"I'm basically doing 30 miles a day, but I'm really starting to get torn up," Horn said.

Along the way, Horn has accepted rides, but only when walking was not an option. The rides have saved him a little over 200 miles of walking.

He never asked for the rides, people just offered, he said.

Horn was 8 miles outside of Richmond, Ind., when he came upon a guardrail that forced him right into the road. Cars weren't slowing down, and a man opened his car door and told him to get in. The man turned out to be a Vietnam veteran.

"He (the veteran) was pretty impressed by my story," Horn said.

Horn said he hopes his walk will inspire others to vote in November's general election.

"I'm trying to encourage nonvoters to vote," Horn said. "This is a great country. We deserve better, better leadership."

Horn is no stranger to walking for a cause. A recent 220-mile walk from Paonia, Colo., to the Capitol steps in Denver was in support of a different effort.

"I'm really not that creative to come up with something else," Horn said. "I really didn't have any other way of expressing myself."

Horn suffered from a shin splint in Illinois, and it took a week to heal. But the injury did not stop his campaign. He said he is on a mission to finish what he started.

Horn said he doesn't want to jinx anything, but he would like to arrive at the U.S. Capitol on Independence Day.

"The closer I get, the cooler I realize how great it would be to get there on the Fourth of July," Horn said.

Horn does not know what he will do upon arriving in Washington or how he will get back to Colorado.

"I'm leaving that up to the Lord himself to tell me what to do next," he said.

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