A local woman who served in Iraq will hike the Ice Age Trail to help other veterans.
Kehly Johnson plans to begin her 1,200-mile trek on Aug. 1 and hopes to raise $3,000 for Homes for Our Troops.
“It’s a four-star rated non-profit organization,” Johnson said. “I want all of the money I raise to help veterans.”
Since its founding in 2004, Homes for Our Troops has spent less than 10 percent of the total amount of its donations on administrative costs.
The national organization has built more than 130 homes and has 40 homes currently in progress.
Homes for Our Troops organizes the construction of homes that are adapted to allow severely wounded veterans to live independently.
While eligible veterans or service members may qualify for up to $65,000 in federal assistance for a specially adapted home, Homes for Our Troops covers all costs above the grant so that the veteran has to pay nothing.
“I personally understand the sacrifices soldiers make while defending our country,” Johnson said. “Although I am no longer in the military I want to continue to support my fellow soldiers.”
A Waupaca native, Johnson served more than six years with the Wisconsin Army National Guard.
She was deployed to Iraq in 2009-10 and honorably discharged in 2010.
Johnson said she was inspired by the example of her father, who also served in the military and took her on long hikes on the Ice Age Trail when she was a child.
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been working towards being just like him,” Johnson said. “I served my country and now I’m setting out on my own wild adventure.”
For more information on Johnson’s trek and to learn how to donate to Homes for Our Troops, go to http://kehlymae.wordpress.com.