Steve Young has always had a soft spot in his heart for sick and terminally ill children.
From his days as a youngster, standing up for a girl with disabilities, to today, as a 52-year-old man trekking across the country to raise awareness for the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C.
The Fort Lauderdale, Fla. native said the decision to raise awareness for the camp, which was founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty and Richard and Linda Petty, among others, was an easy one due to his soft spot for children and growing up a Petty fan.
Theyre great people and its a great camp, Young said. Its a camp that handles kids that other camps cant because of their illnesses. Its on 72 acres of Richard and Lindas property. Kyle and Pattie built this after losing Adam. Its just a great camp. Its something that means a lot to me.
With that in mind, a little less than a year ago, Young decided to start walking across the country to spread the word for the camp. He set out on Oct. 10 last year and has traveled through 27 states on both coasts. He said he expects to be in Randleman at the camp exactly a year after he began.
This is actually my second time being in Virginia, Young said. I walked from south Florida to Pittsburgh. Of course, I came through Virginia. From Pittsburgh, I went into Ohio, south through Kentucky and Tennessee to Mississippi and then all the way to California, including 962 miles across Texas. I didnt think Id ever get across that state, but I made it.
Along his travels, Young camps where he can. He said sometimes folks stop him and invite him into their homes or arrange for lodging in hotels. He said in every stop he makes, he tries to visit museums and other historic sites and always finds his way to a church every Sunday.
I stop at churches, Young said. I went to two churches here, Victory Way Baptist and the Presbyterian Church where I was set up over the weekend. I enjoyed my weekend. I met a lot of great people here.
Young said he was actually searching for a church to attend when he hit Hillsville last week. What he found was the VFW Hillsville Labor Day Gun Show & Flea Market, which he said was right up his alley.
I enjoyed that, he said. You never know what youre coming into when you come into a town. When I came into Hillsville and saw the Flea Market, I felt right at home. I work at the largest flea market in the United States.
Young said his experiences in Hillsville will be included in a book hes writing to document his journey. He said he has met thousands of memorable folks during his travels, but the meetings he truly cherishes are the ones in which he can help a family with a sick kid who might be able to take advantage of the Victory Junction Gang Camps services.
For me, a bigger part of it is if I can come in contact with families that have children who can make use of this camp, Young said.