Odessa Man Walking For Troops, Cancer Victims

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Memorial Day is a great time for many to show their appreciation for our country's military in a very personal way, but some West Texans don't limit themselves to Memorial Day. One Odessa man is proudly displaying his patriotism all the time. You may have already seen him. It's the love one man has for his son and his country that's motivating him to send out the message almost every day.

"We just appreciate what all the troops have done, not only in the present but in the past," Emmett Barnard said. "So we honor all of them and the work that they did and the commitment they made of their lives in many cases."

If you drive down John Ben Sheppard Parkway in the evening, odds are you're bound to see Barnard. For the last six weeks, the 64-year-old has been walking with flag in hand. He's not looking for a handout, nor for you to sign up for some club. He's just walking as a reminder, and a show of support for all the troops serving oversees.

"I'm walking to support the troops," Barnard explained. "My son [Jerry] is in the Army in Afghanistan and this shirt I'm wearing has his name and all the other soldiers in his unit so I'm just walking for them."

And he continues to walk, usually a total of three miles up and down JBS Parkway. Barnard said he's inspiration comes from others who have walked as a sign of support, and for his health. He's in the middle of his second battle with cancer.

"He's a great example, great for the country, a very admirable man," Breion Green who describing Barnard, said.

Green, who is a salesman at Kelly Grimsley Honda, and nearby retailers are used to seeing and visiting with Barnard on his regular walk. Plus the honks and waves of support, by now have become habit. With the Memorial Day weekend here, Barnard will tell you he's happy to give support to both the troops and cancer victims, and to get the thumbs up from his fellow Odessans.

"We just appreciate the people, and appreciate their support and I will just keep on going as long as my health is holding up," Barnard said.

Barnard said he walks JBS Parkway from the Music City Mall to Loop 338 and back in the evenings after work. He said if anyone is ever interested in joining him, he said he'd love the company.