He wasn’t in the military, and didn’t serve in any war, but he’s doing his part to serve those who served. C. Ivan Stoltzfus is driving around the country in a modified vehicle—created with a 1948 John Deere A tractor and a 1984 359 Peterbilt cab—at a speed of a mere 14 miles per hour, raising awareness and raising money for veterans with post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). He’s hoping to plant that seed of hope for those suffering, he said.
By COLE BENZ | Pioneer Editor
“I was never in the military but I always felt like I needed to give back,” he said. “This is my one way of giving back.”
He left his home state of Pennsylvania on Oct. 15 and traveled to Sarasota, Fla. which took him one month. He then put this vehicle in storage for three months before venturing out again on Feb. 19 to California.
He has been up to Washington state and now is headed east again back towards his home in Pennsylvania. He has already logged more than 7,000 miles on this trip, which included a stop in Bowman.
He plans on heading down to South Dakota and go through Minnesota to Iowa on his way to the east coast. The modified vehicle pulls his camper and a little scooter for transportation at his stops.
This isn’t Stoltzfus’ first trip in his tractor/semi. In 2014 he traveled more than 3,500 miles in three and half months from New York City to the west coast.
Now, he is taking it around the country instead of just across the country. He anticipates this trip will get him back to Pennsylvania on October, making the trip a total of 12 months.
According to his informational pamphlet, this trip has a goal to raise $1,000,000 for his nonprofit organization, and to raise awareness of those in the military. According to the website, they have raised $46,544.
“To raise awareness,” Stoltzfus said. “I see America as one big family and family members take care of each other.”
Since his transportation can only travel 14 mph—he admitted he can get up to 18 mph, but doesn’t he doesn’t want to run it too hard—he has to take all highway and back roads, but he enjoys it that way.
“All back roads,” Stoltzfus said. “[It’s] real, true America.”
He said the vehicle handles the road well, but it can get a little rough going over cracks in the road.
As he makes his stops, his interesting vehicle garners onlookers and head turners, but he wants the focus to remain on his mission.
“It’s not about me,” he said. “It’s about bringing anything like this to bring awareness to our veterans so they’re not forgotten.”
Anybody wishing to donate to his cause can visit www.HelpAmericanHeroes.com, or send donations to Across America for Wounded Heroes Inc, 503 Venice-Tamiami Trail S. #20, Venice, Fl 34285. You can also find Stoltzfus and his cause on Facebook.