NORMAN — A marine veteran who began a 343-mile hike on Sept. 11 from Tulsa to Dallas came through Noble this week.
Lance Robinson has set out on his hike to honor the 343 fallen firefighters who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks, but that’s not all. He says he wants to promote a new day of recognition on Sept. 10 to be called Brother to Brother Day, which he says will be a day to honor and reconnect all men and women who don any military uniform as well as veterans, police, firefighters and EMTs.
On his webpage, honorhikeacrossamerica.com, Robinson says, “I am marching across our country, in hopes of gaining awareness of honoring our brothers and sisters that have served, and those that are serving now.”
Robinson means to trek across all 48 contiguous states and visit every state capitol to rally support. He said this year’s goal was to walk more than 4000 miles from his native Pennsylvania to California, but “that’s not going to happen.” So for now, he seems content to trek from Tulsa to Dallas and start the next leg after that.
“This is my third year on the road,” Robinson said. “The 31st state I’ve visited is Oklahoma.”
Robinson’s most recent trek started at Tulsa Fire Department’s Station No. 4 and will be complete when he reaches the JFK Memorial in Dallas. He pulls a cart with clothing and provisions bearing American and military flags and he marks each mile by placing an American flag bearing the name of a fallen 9/11 firefighter. When Robinson came through Noble, he was joined by firefighters who walked with him and was escorted by a fire truck. He says he gets firefighter support and escorts in many places and people walk with him.
“The 343 Hike of honor since Tulsa — every township, every city, every community has been gracious and has come out and embraced the mission either by donating shelter or escorts with trucks, by walking with me,” Robinson said. “The Oklahoma people have been nothing but heartwarming. It’s been fabulous. It’s a Godsend. It’s awesome.”
Robinson started his trek to visit 48 states on Sept. 10, 2010. This year alone, he’s been on the road since March 1. To support himself on the road, he accepts donations from people on the street or by doing fundraisers at retail outlets and grocery stores in the towns he visits. He says he’s not a non-profit.
“I don’t really reach out beyond the area I’m in because that seems like fraud or dishonesty,” Robinson said. “I’m trying to be as honorable as I can.”
Robinson said the Noble Fire Department donated $100 to him, which he will put toward lodging along the way.
“I feel the Lord has placed it upon my heart to promote this day of honor,” Robinson posted at gofundme.com/4mrry4. “I have the desire to help my community, and I know the sacrifices we endure.”
“The world changed. Our nation changed. Our camaraderie changed,” Robinson said of 9/11. “You can go out there and people will say ‘thank you for your service.’ Before 9/11, people didn’t care. The Brother to Brother (effort) is to create a day of unity from a day of sorrow.”
You can follow his journey on hisFacebook page at facebook.com/343HoH. To donate to help Robinson along his trek, visit gofundme.com/4mrry4 or mail a check to Lance Robinson, 2828 Italy Rd., Export, PA 15632.