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WASHINGTON, July 7, 2009 – The best way to show deployed troops you care, says Cody Anderson, is to send them prepaid international phone cards so they can call home to their friends and loved ones.

Today, Anderson, 54, of Mineral Bluff, Ga., is wrapping a four-and-a-half-week personal sojourn, walking back and forth from the U.S. Capitol to the White House to raise awareness about the troops and encourage people to donate phone cards for them.

Yesterday, Anderson's walking shoes were showing signs of his 1,000-mile personal walkathon as he plodded back and forth between the two national icons, passing out white business cards to everyone he encountered to promote his cause. “What better cause than to support our troops?” he asked.

Anderson's goal is to generate one international phone card for every servicemember deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I do this because I'm a patriot. I love our country and support our troops,” he said. “I figure that this is one thing I can do to make their life a little better.”

So six days a week – from 9 each morning to 5 at night -- he has walked nonstop, through rain, blazing heat, aching legs and even on his birthday, July 4, as Independence Day crowds descended on the nation's capital. On Sundays, he took a break to attend church and rest his weary bones.

Anderson is no stranger to unusual ways of showing support for the troops. He did a 45-mile walk between Naples and Fort Myers City, Fla., in December 2003 to encourage people to “adopt” deployed troops by sending cards and letters of encouragement. For several years, he's collected, packed, shipped and delivered care packages and phone cards to troops stationed around the world.

“I love doing this,” he said. “We owe our troops so much for what they do for us.”

As he conducted his Washington walk, Anderson already had his sights set on his next one: between Atlanta and Fort Benning, Ga.

“I'm going to keep doing whatever I can to get phone cards to the troops,” he said. “I'm still at it, working hard.”

Article and photos by Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
Copyright 2009

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