C. Ivan Stoltzfus is on his third Across America for Wounded Heroes trip
By Diego Flammini
A retired Honey Brook, Penn. farmer and part-time auctioneer is driving a vintage tractor across the U.S. to raise money for army veterans.
C. Ivan Stoltzfus is using a modified 1948 John Deere Model A tractor to drive throughout the country for Across America for Wounded Heroes, the organization he founded that helps wounded, injured and ill veterans. This year the non-profit has partnered with Operation Second Chance, which has a similar mandate.
Stoltzfus started his journey on May 10 from Germantown, Md. with his tractor pulling a trailer. He’s visited states in the Midwest and is working his way south. The tour is scheduled to wrap up in October in Sarasota, Fla.
The goal is to raise US$100,000. So far, the fundraiser has garnered more than US$52,000 in donations.
This trip through the U.S. will shed light on the challenges some military personnel have once they come home, Stoltzfus said.
“I started seeing friends that came back from the war who tried to adjust back into civil life and the pain from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and that just hit me,” he told the Waco Tribune-Herald on Sept. 4 while in Texas. “I just thought I needed to do something to bring awareness and let them know that someone is listening to those stories.”
This trip across the U.S. is the third for Stoltzfus.
He started the cross-country tractor drives in 2014 and completed another in 2016 after receiving inspiration from his father.
“Growing up as a child, I used to hear his stories about crossing the Mississippi River, driving all night on dirt roads and … I loved to hear the sound of those tractors and I thought someday I would love to go across America in one of those tractors,” he told Southern Chester County Weeklies on April 24, 2014.
Elizabeth Mazenko photo