AN EARLY ARTICLE WRITTEN REGARDING MAC AND HIS MISSION
Mac McQuown is a 51 year old US Army Reservist & U S Marine Veteran . Serving from 1980-1988. Mac is on a mission to walk to all 50 State Capitals. Mac started his journey on September 11, 2011 from Stafford, Virginia where he calls home. On his journey he has walked on average 10 - 15 miles per day while at the same time pulling behind him a 60 lb cart. This cart containing his supplies & gear , i.e. Food, Water, Clothing, Tools, Sleeping Bag, 2 Man tent and first aide supplies. Only resting on Sundays so his body has a chance to re-coup. He usually sleeps at Fire Stations but at times also in Motels that are sponsored by Friends and at times paid for by perfect strangers once they hear of what he is doing. There have been families that have also opened their home to him. Bronx native, Emily Toro, who currently resides in Richmond Hill, Queens, joined McQuown on his walk from Fort Lee, New Jersey down to Ground Zero, where she presented him with the dog-tags of her son Isaac T. Cortes, an Army soldier who was killed in 2007 at age 26, eight weeks after being deployed to Iraq. Toro and McQuown were introduced by a mutual friend who recognized their shared passion for the military. Little did they know they were already “friends.” I knew a Mac McQuown on my [Facebook] page because he was a Marine, and that’s about it. We connected after he called me and that’s when we realized we were on each other’s page,” she explains as an active supporter of veteran rights, Toro sees a big problem in the poverty faced by many of the men and women who have served in the military. “We have a lot of homeless veterans in the street. It’s a shame they’re out there begging for a place to sleep, for something to eat,” Toro said. Toro spends much of her time volunteering at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn and is a board member of From the Warfront to the Home front Foundation Inc, a non-profit that provides support and resources to veterans. They are currently planning a coat drive for homeless veterans in the Bronx. Jessica Bryan Founder of " STEP INTO THEIR BOOTS " A Foundation dedicated to helping Veterans and one of Mac's Sponsors , walked alongside McQuown and Toro across the George Washington Bridge. As part of her own efforts to educate youth on the sacrifices of fallen soldiers, Bryan began Step into Their Boots, a company that designs combat boots in honor of specific soldiers who have died during their military service. McQuown is wearing a pair of Boots Designed By Jessica's Foundation , in honor of Isaac T. Cortes. The boots are decorated with symbols and phrases that represent him, such as the Puerto Rican flag to symbolize his heritage and one of Cortes’ favorite sayings, “Go Big or Go Home.”As he travels from city to city, McQuown said he has found support and hospitality in local fire departments. While in New York, he stayed at the firehouse of Engine 69 -Ladder 28 at 248 West 143rd Street. Overall, New Yorkers have left a positive impression on the Marine. “Everywhere I’ve been in New York, people have been incredibly kind,” he said. “The hospitality of the people that I’ve bumped into so far has been remarkable.”As Mac begins his journey south heading to Florida, he looks forward to his final stop at Arlington Cemetery, where he will return Cortes’ dog-tags to his mother Emily Toro. Mac McQuown, who served as an Armor tank Crewman in the U. S. Army Reserve then in the U.S. Marines as a Sergeant field radio operator in the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines and as an Embassy Guard in the 2nd Bn. 1st Marines, is motivated by all the veterans who he feels don't receive the attention they deserve. "They seem to fall through the cracks of our society and that's a shame," McQuown said. "This is my way of kind of getting in people's faces to help them remember." When the traveling becomes especially difficult, he'll think of one veteran Soldier Travis Mills in particular who lost all 4 limbs in an IED explosion “What do you or I have to complain about?” ,asked McQuown, who sees himself as fortunate compared to many wounded & homeless Veterans.