Crossing America in a wheelchair

In 1973, David Whittaker joined the U.S. Marine Corps and severely injured one of his eyes during a training exercise. Medically discharged with impaired vision, he went to graduate school and then worked for an airline. Four years ago, Whittaker developed heart disease and was hospitalized “too many times to count,” he says. Besides all his medical problems, Whittaker became homeless. With so much to despair over, what did he do? “I decided I was not going to let things end that way, so I set out to make a difference,” he says on his Web site. Whittaker founded Veteran Cottages, an organization that aims to get homeless veterans off the streets. He also decided to travel across the United States in his wheelchair to raise awareness and funds for homeless veterans housing. Whittaker plans to start his “Wheelchair Across America” tour May 2 in Key West, Fla. Moving through the southern states, he plans to turn northward and go through California and Oregon before ending his tour in Blaine, Wash. Whittaker paid a visit to American Legion staff members at their D.C. offices on April 28. To help Whittaker along his route with meals, transportation, facilities and donations, contact him via e-mail or by toll-free phone at (877)214-VETS(8387).