Outpouring of Hospitality for Fundraising Veteran
Hospitality is one thing in which every community likes to pride itself. That's especially true right here in this area. A good example occurred last week. People rolled out the red carpet for a retired Marine who is traveling across the country in a Jeep.
It's Captain Scott Montefusco, USMC (Ret). He's traveling across country in a 1952 Korean War era Jeep to raise money for an organization called "Tunnels to Towers." The organization hopes to give 200 mortgage-free homes to the families of military personnel or first responders who were killed or wounded while on duty. Scott started his trip on May 23 in San Francisco. He'll arrive in New York City on July 26.
"I want to give back,” says Scott. “I will never stop serving our country. So I thought…How can I inspire others to love our country, to take an interest in American history? Maybe inspire young folks to step up and serve as first responders and military."
Scott has already inspired many people who want to help him during his cross country adventure. The captain and his Jeep are accompanied by his motor home every mile. It is where he sleeps. He's had no trouble finding safe and friendly places to park the RV overnight. VFW Post 470 in Erie gave him its parking lot, a place to freshen up, and a donation.
"He was looking for a safe place to be. We offered him the post. What else do veterans do? We help each other,” says Bob Depew, Post Commander.
Scott does not have a full time person to drive the motor home. He relies on volunteers. Jim Donze, of Oil City, drove it from Cleveland to Erie. Jim's wife dropped him off in Cleveland. Jim also raised money to donate to the cause.
"I gave him $6,362. It was a great outpour from friends, family, in-laws, Navy buddies, and businesses in Oil City where I'm from,” he said.
"It's been amazing,” says Scott. “It's like people are waiting to wave the flag. They're bursting with energy. There are patriots everywhere."
Erie opened their hearts to Captain Montefusco and his fund raising trip. Erie police officers and firefighters came to shake his hand and pose for a picture. It was a memorable stop on a cross country trip that has support from people nationwide. Scott is looking forward to a triumphant finish in New York City.
"It's humbling. It really is. It's going to be great," he said.
After retiring from the Marine Corps, Scott served as an FBI agent for 25 years. He is following the route of Colonel Horatio Nelson Jackson, the first man to cross the country by car in 1903. Just like Jackson, Scott's vehicle does not have a windshield or roof.
Scott calls his fund raiser “The Great American Road Trip for Veterans.” To donate, log on to his web site, www.gartforvets.org.