Odessa Man Walks With American Flag to Remember Military Men and Women

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Over 1,000 miles and counting. That's how long one Odessa man has walked to remember our service men and women. NewsWest 9 caught up with the patriotic resident as he made his walk this Memorial Day.

"Some people stop just to visit, a word of encouragement," Emmett Barnard said. "Some people stop and give me a bottle of water. Most of them just honk and wave. That's all I ask of people, just honk and wave."

You may have seen him walking down JBS Parkway to the north Loop 338 and all the way back. That's where NewsWest 9 found him on Memorial Day.

"It's a day to honor those that have fought in the wars in the past to keep us free," Barnard said.

The 66-year-old is raising awareness one step at a time by walking across Odessa carrying a United States flag.

"It's great to honor their commitment, their memory and many of them lost their lives," he said.

The proud father of an Army vet, Barnard got the idea a few years ago after another veteran stopped in Odessa on a trek for disabled vets.

But he doesn't do this just on Memorial Day.

"As of today, after I'm through, I'll have walked 1,010 miles," Barnard said.

Barnard has been walking the same route five days a week for the last two years. On top of all that, he's battling cancer for the second time. But he said the disease won't slow him down. It's his commitment to those who've served that keeps him going.

"America's a free nation and that's why I'm able to walk the streets here because of what they've done," Barnard said.

He's gone through three pairs of shoes in the last two years and expects to go through a lot more in the future.

"Well I know I'll be walking until 2014 because our troops are committed that long in Afghanistan," Barnard said.

After that, anything's possible.

"I'll be walking for the wounded warriors or maybe I'll take up a new cause and walk for cancer patients but I'll still be walking," Barnard said.