Why Am I Paddling Solo Down the Mississippi?

In 2012 I became affiliated with American Huey 369 as a member and supporter. Throughout the subsequent years I also had the opportunity to see this special team of pilots and crews honor our Vietnam Gold Star families.

The effect of Huey 369’s honor flights for these families has been nothing short of astounding. The families are finally receiving a long overdue honor.

While I was doing research for my book “Mission of Honor” I met and spoke to many Gold Star families.

Believe me, this was not a club that they wanted to join.

I consistently heard the same story. No honor, no support, no thanks. “We just didn’t talk about it.”

This deeply moved me to realize the terrible wrong we have done as a country to these wonderful
American families.

It moved me so much that I decided to put my life on hold for a couple months and start a MOVEMENT.

And to get attention to this movement, I decided to do something audacious.

Something most Americans would never consider doing:
A solo canoe paddle the entire length of the Mississippi River.

And just what is this MOVEMENT?

It’s a movement to get Americans to appreciate the deep sacrifices of our Gold Star families.

We owe them honor. It does not have to be much, but it does have to be SOMETHING: A card, an email, a phone call. Just something small will do.

With media exposure I get along the way down the Mississippi I will tell this story. And I will ask for action to honor these families.

I also hope to personally meet and thank many of these families along the river. I have stops planned in every major and midsized city along the route.

The Gold Star Paddle Starts at “Ice Out” in Lake Itasca, MN

My departure goal is Earth Day, April 22, 2017 – However, if weather is cooperating it may be as early as April 20 or 22nd.

– Stay Tuned!

9 replies
  1. Alex Fernwalt 129th AHC 65-68
    Alex Fernwalt 129th AHC 65-68 says:

    Leave 40 minutes from the Mississippi River SE of Memphis Tn. Glad to hear of your trip down the River. As Veterans we won’t let our be forgotten. And, Welcome Home.

  2. Elaine and Wayne Crigler
    Elaine and Wayne Crigler says:

    We are so proud of our nephew, Jim, taking this journey to honor those who sacrificed so much for us. God bless; we will keep you and all the Gold Star families in our prayers.

  3. Dennis Layton
    Dennis Layton says:

    I live a mile or so from the river in se Arkansas,I will be looking for ya,get back to me if ya need something. Good Luck on your journey.

  4. Norm Doty
    Norm Doty says:

    Jim, We are at Mile Marker 783.3 – just south of Red Wing. Give me a day or two head’s up, and I’ll meet you down there. Whatever you need, buddy . . . great Mission of Honor. Of course, you bring plenty of honor yourself. Thank you for that, and for your service. Hoping the “buzzing” stops. All the best, Norm

  5. Bob Behrens
    Bob Behrens says:

    Looking forward to meeting you in St Cloud on Saturday.
    River will be busy, lots of boats.
    Governor Fishing Opener that weekend.
    Be safe, do good

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