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Operation Second Chance helps veterans move on

By Staff | Jun 14, 2019

C. Ivan Stoltzfus pulled in after a journey that started May 10 in Germantown, Maryland Thursday. He pulled the Operation Second Chance trailer with a John Deere (Johnabilt) cab that clocks about 15 miles per hour on the nation’s back roads raising awareness and support for the organization that fulfills requests from veterans in need of assistance. This mission is called Across America for Wounded Heroes.

Operation Second Chance receives requests from veterans at risk of losing their homes or families of wounded, injured or ill veterans reaching out with needs for assistance with groceries, diapers or other daily necessities.

Ivan camped for the weekend at Ft. Defiance State Park in order to attend the Gold Star Memorial banquet and dedication.

Herschel “Woody” Williams, founder of the Gold Star Families foundation, asked Ivan to attend the dedication, so he plotted a course for this year’s Operation Second Chance that would land him in Estherville.

“We serve veterans and first responders by building relationship. We host biking, fishing and paddle events as well as things to just get the families out of their environments for a while,” Ivan said.

Operation Second Chance has provided over $7 million in assistance and morale to over 14,000 veterans and first responders and their families since its inception in 2004. The organization hosts veterans and families at retreats in 11 states each year.

Ivan will travel through 17 states on this journey from May to October. His next stop is Storm Lake, then he heads to Pierce, Nebraska and up across South Dakota to reach the Black Hills for the fourth of July. He will arrive in time for one of the family retreats in Red Lodge, Montana then dip south to Texas before returning to his Sarasota, Florida home in October.

Ivan is working on a book documenting the most rewarding part of his travels, meeting veterans along the route.

Across America for Wounded Heroes is spotlighting veterans stories across the country in support of Operation Second Chance, “to ensure the needs of those who have given so much are never forgotten,” Ivan said.

Supporters can connect with Across America for Wounded Heroes and Operation Second Chance and follow the journey at operationsecondchance.org. To contact Ivan, email acrossAmerica@operationsecondchance.org.