To Shiew across America

Published 11:08 am Friday, September 26, 2014

FRANKLIN—Every morning, Jim Shiew of Buena Vista, Colorado, laces up his running shoes and runs 10-15 miles a day.

Starting in Solana Beach at the Pacific Ocean, his ultimate goal is Virginia Beach. On Tuesday morning, he laced up in Franklin at the American Legion Charles R. Younts Post 73 and continued on the path, aiming to get there by Saturday.

“I am raising funds for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation out of Tampa, Florida,” Shiew said. “They take care of the special forces, the Navy SEALs and other special op guys who are the first ones in and the last ones out.

“A lot of them get injured, and some of them get killed. They take care of them and their families, making sure the kids have scholarships or whatever they need as they go through the grieving process.”

Shiew said a great thing about SOWF is that for every $1 sent, 95 cents goes to the veteran or his or her family. To donate, you can visit to find out more information on mailing or donating through PayPal. If you wanted to, you can let them know that you are donating because of him.

“They could indicate that it is because of my efforts, but I’m sure that a lot of the donations that have gone in they haven’t known where it came from or why it came,” said Shiew, who served in the Army. “And I am not really worried about that. It’s about helping people who need it, not recognition.”

The 70-year-old said this is something that he has always wanted to do, and if he was going to do it, Shiew decided it should be now.

“I have been wanting to do this for a long time,” he said. “I finally got to a point where I could do it financially own my own if I wasn’t able to get any help, and I have got a tremendous amount of help around the country.

“And well, age had kind of set in without me realizing it. So I thought, I better get down with it if I am going to do it.”

Shiew said he has been blessed so far.

“I thank the good Lord every day,” he said. “I haven’t had any injuries or anything. I have had a knee problem all of my life, but it seems to be holding up real good for the miles I have put in.

“When I started out, I had some back problems, but all of that seems to have gone away.”

The hardest part mentally was probably when he was in the desert, where he was last winter, having started in November.

“It was cold and windy, and being on the back roads I didn’t see many people,” he said. “It was tough to keep my spirits up.”

But then, one day, he said his guardian angel spoke to him while he was getting in his car.

“I was out in the middle of nowhere, it was just flat and desert country,” he said. “I got in my car, closed the door, but I couldn’t get it closed all the way. I opened it back up, and there was a penny sitting there.

“If I had parked a foot ahead, or a foot back, or I hadn’t opened the door, I would have never found that penny. I’ve had several other incidents, all having to do with coins, and it just told me that I was being taken care of. I firmly believe that.”

While he is going east, he’s actually running west. It works like this. He’ll park the car and the van he is sleeping in at his camp site, usually a Legion or Veterans of Foreign War Post. Then in the morning, he’ll take the van 2-3 miles, and run back to the car. Then he’ll move the car 2-3 miles, run back to the van, and continue on until his allotment for the day is complete. It usually takes him 4-5 hours, depending on how slow he’s moving that particular day.

Going from California, through Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and then finally Virginia, one thing that he has definitely noticed is that this is a beautiful country.

“It just amazes me the beauty,” Shiew said. “Even in Western Kansas, where I am from and where it is very flat, there is a lot of beauty in it.”

While it’s just him doing the driving and running, he has had some friends along the way. A couple in Missouri are helping him with logistics for where he is staying, so he doesn’t have to visit people cold to find a place to stay.

Ultimately, Shiew said, the people have been the best part of this whole experience.

“People have just been wonderful,” he said. “And that’s clear across the country, from Virginia to California. I have just been fortunate to have met some very wonderful people. It just seems to work out every day.

“This country is just full of good people. They are friendly, and they are very patriotic.”