First He Served, Now He Runs: A 90-Year Old Navy Veteran's Story
Imagine running from the West Coast of the United States all the way to the East. Now, imagine running that distance at 90 years old. That's what Navy veteran Ernie Andrus is doing—and he's running for a very personal, meaningful reason.
As a young man, Ernie really wanted to be a sailor. He didn't give up after being turned down at a few Navy recruiting stations due to a lazy eye; instead, he memorized the eye chart at the last office he visited, passed the test, and joined the Navy, where he served on a ship called the LST 325.
"Nobody knows much about LSTs and what they did... Einsenhower and Winston Churchill, both of them said that the LST was the ship that won the war. And this is the only one that's left!" he says.
Out of 1,051 LSTs made, Ernie's ship—the LST 325—is indeed the last of its kind that's restored and fully operational. And while there were plans for a D-Day memorial service in 2014 that included the ship, they were sadly cancelled due to a lack of funds. So Ernie decided to take on the task of fundraising himself, an inspirational and moving commitment to honoring his past and the country he enlisted for. Through his running, Ernie hopes to raise enough money in time for a D-Day memorial including his ship in 2019.
As someone who ran his first half marathon at 87 and who relishes running in the desert, Ernie probably doesn't need our cheers. But with a story like his, the veteran and dedicated runner is sure to have all of America behind him. Go Ernie!