Update: Project America Run II Nears the End

Mike Ehredt’s journey comes to an end in Galveston, Texas on Veterans Day.

In Raywood, Texas, employees at a local Shell gasoline station stared outside in wonderment as a runner pushing a jogging stroller passed by on the busy highway where foot traffic is a rare sight. They quickly learn that seemingly random runner is Mike Ehredt and rush out to greet him. Ehredt started his journey in Minnesota near the Canadian border and has jogged his way down to Texas, placing a small yet powerful American flag every mile he travels. Each flag contains the name, age, rank, and hometown of a US service member killed in Afghanistan.

Project America Run

Stopping only for a short break, Ehredt drinks a little Gatorade, thanks the small group that has gathered for encouragement, and hits the road again. He still has three days left until he reaches his destination and has around 100 more flags to plant before officially finishing Project America Run II. By Saturday he will make it to the Space Center Houston, where he will be honored with a special public ceremony and answer any questions.

“I haven’t had one day when I woke up and thought, ‘Nah, I’m just not feeling it,’ ” Ehredt said Thursday. “I wake up and I think, ‘Whoo! Let’s go!’ ”

Project America Run - street view

This is not Ehredt’s first rodeo… or run either! Two years ago he ran from Oregon to Maine, planting more than 4,424 flags that honored military personnel killed in Iraq. That was the original Project America Run. Right after completion, Ehredt knew he had to do it again to stand up and recognize that more than 2,100 Americans lost in Afghanistan.

Project America Run - flags

From a small town in Idaho, Ehredt is an experienced extreme sports athlete, despite being born with club foot conditions in both legs. He later became a personal trainer after retiring from a 28-year US Postal Service career. Ehredt says he gained inspiration after reading and seeing pictures and wanted to give back in a unique way that was special to him. He also created a website to track his journey and gives people an opportunity to sponsor a specific soldier’s flag for $25. He marks each flag’s location with a GPS that lets people find a particular flag.

Project America Run - salute

This warm welcome he received at the gas station is a typical occurrence on his run, and always appreciated. His route needed to be changed just a little in the last few days in order to add even more flags, which means more for miles for Ehredt. But what is next for this patriot? Project American Run III? Ehredt thinks it’s time to make these memories live forever and write a book.

Credit: Chron | PAR II YouTube

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