Inspired by the loss of close friends, Will Mosebach and Kristen Creech are in the middle of a grueling, 2,500-mile cross-country walk from northern Maine to Florida to raise money for military veterans and their families.
Mosebach, 32, who served as an Army medic in the Iraq War in 2003, and Creech, 25, his girlfriend, traveled through the Hampton and the Seacoast area as a whole Wednesday as a part of their fundraising and awareness effort, Hike for Heroes — the idea for which came after the couple saw other groups doing similar work on the "Active Heroes" website.
Creech said they received a "great reaction" in the Granite State on Wednesday, including significant praise from U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte during a stop in Portsmouth, and said its been great to get started on their long-awaited campaign and help a demographic of the population suffering from high suicide rates and other problems.
"It has shown us that we have the ability to touch people's lives, just by caring," said Creech of the trip so far, which started in September and will take seven months to complete. "It's very inspiring and motivating. Also, people are so willing to help — we just have to shed a little light on the subject."
The Maine residents began their journey in Calais, Maine, and will finish in West Palm Beach, Fla. The duo entered Massachusetts Wednesday afternoon, including a stop with the mayor of Newburyport and a dinner with volunteers helping with the cause.
Creech and Mosebach said "awesome volunteers" have made the trip possible so far, as well as given them some "great experiences."
"Although we spent a short amount of time in New Hampshire, we had a wonderful experience," she said. "The people here are very supportive and patriotic... Hopefully we can continue to have the same affect on the people and states to come like we've done thus far."
The majority of Hike for Heroes takes the couple across the East Coast Greenway, which is a developing trailway stretching from Canada to Florida. The New Hampshire portion is in the works, and Creech and Mosebach are also helping raise awareness about the trail efforts through Hike for Heroes.
Development of the New Hampshire portion of the trail system is being spearheaded by the New Hampshire Seacoast Greenway Committee, which is lead by Scott Bogle of the Rockingham County Planning Commission.
Anyone interested in donating to the Hike for Heroes campaign can visit the Active Heroes website. Photos and stories about Mosebach and Creech's journey are posted on the Hike for Heroes Facebook page.
Creech said about $4,000 was raised just from walking in Maine, and the couple hopes to raise more money as they make their way to Florida.
A copy of the couple's route is posted to this article as a PDF.