In The News: Pennsylvania man on a tractor ride with a mission By Kent Thompson


Other Stories—Tractor trip 6-08-17

<p>Pennsylvania man is on a tractor ride with a mission </p>    <p><strong>By Kent Thompson</strong></p>  <p>    Reassured by the putt, putt, putt, pop of the two-cylinder engine on his 1948 Model A John Deere, C. Ivan Stoltzfus makes his way across the country, much as he did in 2014. </p>  <p>    Stoltzfus’ stops included a visit to the Dakota City Park, officially the Herbert O. Zinnel Jr. Memorial Park. Zinnel was a Marine in Vietnam from Dakota City and was a war casualty, killed in action in Quang Nam Province in December 1967. </p>  <p>    The location stop for Stoltzfus’ sojourn, pulling a 24-foot RV, is important, because it ties in with Stoltzfus’ trip around America, which has already logged 7,000 miles. </p>  <p>    Stoltzfus, an auctioneer and real estate broker from Honey Brook, PA, had a dream about a cross-country journey on an old two-cylinder John Deere tractor. His mission in making the trip is to support veterans and emergency personnel who have been scarred physically and emotionally by war and activities and events they were part of, because of their duty to serve and protect others. </p>  <p>    “I was never in the military, and like most of us, took my freedom for granted. To see the men and women returning from service today, and seeing them try to adjust to society and the difficulty they encounter really bothers me, and it’s something I want to try and help, even if it’s in a small way,” Stoltzfus said. </p>  <p>    “My father worked his way across America when he was younger, and he started farming with a two-cylinder John Deere, so there’s an emotional attachment. </p>  <p>    “He told me before he died that if you have a dream, don’t wait too long to pursue it. Do it while you are still physically and mentally able,” Stoltzfus said. </p>  <p>    Retired from farming, Stoltzfus can take some time off from his business interests to raise funds for wounded veterans and first responders, too. </p>  <p>    Stoltzfus emphasizes that  “wounded” in this case doesn’t just include military vets who were wounded in service, but hurting men and women who have sacrificed themselves for our nation’s freedom, both home and abroad. </p>  <p>    He has a deep yearning to help men and women suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). </p>  <p>    “Statistics report that 22 U.S. veterans per day take their own lives and as many as 75 per day try. That’s a very sad and sobering figure. If I can even raise awareness of their problems by traveling around the country, I feel I’m doing something of value. I’d also like to raise some funds to help them,” Stoltzfus said. His goal is to raise $1 million, but even if he falls short of that amount, he is trying to change and help lives one mile at a time. </p>  <p>    In 2014, Stoltzfus took a transcontinental route from the east coast to the west coast, 3,510 miles, across the heartland of the U.S. </p>  <p>    This time, he wanted a more extensive trip, “around the U.S.,” he said. </p>  <p>    Starting in southeast Pennsylvania, Stoltzfus traveled along the eastern seaboard to his winter home in Sarasota, FL. </p>  <p>    “I took about a three-month break and then headed out again in February, traveling along the southern U.S., into the southwest and then up into Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and the Dakotas. Now I’m in Iowa making my way east. I plan to be in Dixon, IL, by the 4th of July for a celebration and then will continue on east, ending up back home in Pennsylvania in the fall,” Stoltzfus said. </p>  <p>    “I’ve traveled 7,000 miles so far on this trip (which began last October),” he said. </p>  <p>    The trip is made a little more comfortable by a specially constructed 359 Peterbilt tractor cab that was constructed with the help of a Waterloo Boys Two-Cylinder Tractor Club of southeastern Pennsylvania. The “Johnabilt” cab has windows, a heater, air vents on the floor, but no air conditioning. </p>  <p>      He has a special 27.5-gallon gas tank on the back of the reconditioned “A.” Stoltzfus stresses that it’s all original equipment from the standpoint that there’s nothing “souped  up” about his 18-horsepower unit. </p>  <p>    “It will run about 18 miles an hour wide open, but pulling the trailer down the road I go about 14 miles per hour,” Stoltzfus said. </p>  <p>    Some of the toughest climbs during this year’s ride have been over George Pass near Missoula, MT (very steep with no guard rails), and another long mountain range over the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. </p>  <p>    “I’m glad to be back on the flatland plains of Iowa and Illinois now,” Stoltzfus said. </p>  <p>    The longest stretch of road was in the desert of Nevada. “I went 170 miles and didn’t see anything,” Stoltzfus said. </p>  <p>    “People are very thankful and it’s very gratifying to have a veteran stop and thank me for what I’m doing, but the thanks goes to them. Without what they have done and sacrificed, I wouldn’t be able to do this,” Stoltzfus said. </p>  <p>    Stoltzfus camped out overnight at Dakota City Park June 1, and then was on his way. By late Friday morning (June 2) he was in Belmond and was moving his way north and east. </p>  <p>    “I don’t have a timetable, but there are a few celebrations and activities in certain cities and towns I would like to make if I can,” he said. </p>  <p>    “There is so much good in America that you don’t see till you do something like this. Traveling around the country makes me realize there is a lot of good here,” he said. </p>  <p>    People interested in following and tracking C. Ivan Stoltzfus have a lot of options. He has U.S. Fleet Tracking satellites that pinpoint where he is located. People can get blog posts from the road sent to them and they can also view photos and maps of where he’s been and where he’s going. </p>  <p>    People can visit the web site Across America for Wounded Heroes to find out all of that information and to donate by credit card. Check donations made payable to “Across America for Wounded Heroes Inc.” may be sent to: Across America for Wounded Heroes Inc., 503 Tamiami Trail S No. 20, Venice, FL 34285. </p>  <p>    He’s on Twitter at #AAFWH, and people can find him on Facebook at Across America for Wounded Heroes.   </p>    <p><strong>Wounded heroes 06.jpg </strong></p>  <p><strong>    Pulling a 24-foot RV with a nearly 70-year-old tractor that covers only about 15 miles in an hour may not be everyone’s idea of fun, but it suits C. Ivan Stoltzfus of Honey Brook, PA, just fine. He’s doing it to raise awareness and funds to help military and first responders who are wounded physically, mentally or emotionally from their efforts in helping other people in need and protecting our country. He stopped in Dakota City last week. Humboldt Independent photo <a name="_GoBack"></a>by Kent Thompson. </strong></p>  <p><strong></strong></p>