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100-year-old war veteran to walk 100 miles to fundraise for homeless war vets | CBC News

Tom Hennesy felt a deep sense of gratitude to be alive as he sailed home on a hospital ship after the Second World War.

The feeling has stayed with him his whole life, and now, decades later, it’s prompted the centenarian to act on behalf of other war veterans. 

He’s started a “Walk of Gratitude” where he plans to walk a total of 100 miles, or 160km, to raise $100,000 for homeless veterans. 

His final miles will take place at Victoria Park in London where he has been walking circuits. He says he walks approximately 4 km a day and hopes to reach his goal on Canada Day.

Homeless vets

A few months ago, Hennesy says he read an article about homeless veterans and was inspired. It was the last line that caught his attention and got him thinking about making a contribution.   

“[It said] ‘we’ve got to do something,’ and I turned to my partner and said, ‘Joy, that’s what I can do, I can walk for the homeless vets.'”

Before the pandemic, the manager of homeless prevention for London said there were approximately 25 veterans experiencing homelessness in the city. Some of those people were using long term shelters or were sleeping rough.

Hennesy, perhaps speaking from his own experience, doesn’t believe soldiers always know what they’re getting into when they sign up to serve. It’s one of the reasons he wants to help those who have come home and are struggling. 

“I think of these vets sleeping out and having a very tough time of it. I’ll support them in Canada,” he said. 

Hennesy immigrated to Canada after the war and says that there is so much to be thankful for. 

“It’s just a wonderful country. And I want to say thank you to it,” he said. 

“I’m a hundred years old, and I wanted to say thank you.”

Listen | Tom Hennesy talks about his goal of walking 100 miles

Afternoon Drive6:53Walk of gratitude

Tom Hennessy, a 100-year-old London man, speaks with CBC Afternoon Drive guest host Julianne Hazlewood about walking 100 miles for his 100th birthday.

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