MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Walking down highways, you'll find Larry Hinkle. Larry is a retired U.S. Marine Corps vet and he likes to walk.
"I'm a proud Texan and I want to give back to the state that I'm so proud to be from," said Hinkle.
Last time we met Larry, he was walking 2,700 miles from North Carolina to California. Now, he's on the road again, but this time, he's walking 10 miles a day to meet with veterans and first responders in his home state. Now, he's back in the Basin.
"I guarantee passing through here before, I never thought I'd want to spend so much time here," said Hinkle. "I always heard, Midland? It's way out there, there's nothing there. But it's opened my eyes. There's nothing but great people here. Those bonds and connections, that's what it's all about."
Larry got out of the service in 2004 when he started working for Corporate America. But that was when he realized, he was looking for something more.
"I was making good money, I had a nice apartment, living the single life," said Hinkle. "Something was missing. Like I was just churning, going nowhere."
Life changed, when he met another Marine, Richard Caruso who inspired him to go out and serve those who served him.
"What Rich taught me and instilled in me is I started seeing it in the end of my journey last year after leaving Midland and reflecting back on everything is honor, courage and commitment," he said. "It doesn't stop the day we get out of the Marine Corp. That's a service to your brother and sister to the rest of your life."
Larry will be on the road for the next four months stopping by VA clinics, nursing homes, police and fire departments, treating them to meals as a way of saying thanks. He encourages anyone to join him on a walk, not only to get the exercise, but for him to get to know the people who give it all.
"For somebody so selfless, to sign their life away at all costs knowing it could cost the ultimate sacrifice. Without those people, and the community, you don't have a community," said Hinkle. "I never in a million years thought life would be this beautiful and it's all because of people in the Permian Basin."
Larry will be at the VFW 4149 in Midland at noon on Friday feeding veterans and first responders for free. He encourages you to come by.
To join him on a walk, e-mail him at email@example.com or follow his Facebook page here.