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Texas man walking across America

Want to walk a mile in Sihn Tho Nguyen’s shoes?

Try walking 2,600 miles.

Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American soldier, is walking “from shore to shore” in an effort to raise awareness and show appreciation toward America and its troops.

Nguyen began his walk in Jacksonville, Fla., 26 days ago.

Accompanied by his friend and driver, David Dominguez, Nguyen plans to walk across America and reach San Diego, Calif., by the end of the year.

He will average 25 miles a day.

This past Tuesday evening, Nguyen made his way through Demopolis.

“Alabama is a very beautiful state, and the people are wonderful,” he said, carrying an American flag and a sign that reads: Shore to Shore: A Walk Across America to Honor Those Who Serve.

“Already, every face I see is very familiar; I see no strangers. Alabama is the best state.”

Born in Vietnam, Nguyen was a “war boy” who never met his father, an American soldier stationed there during the Vietnam conflict.

He came to America at the age of 24, learned to speak English, and joined the Army. He has served at both Fort Meade in Maryland and the American army base in Teagu, South Korea.

Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Nguyen has published more than 20 books in Vietnamese and has run two marathons.

Nguyen formed the Shore to Shore Project last year after deciding to make his dream of walking across America a reality.

“Shore to Shore Project is a voice to reassure that America is always faithful to her citizens,” Nguyen’s Web site says.

“This is my life goal. This is more than a project. It is a vocation that I am called to every day and night.”

Nguyen will be the first Vietnamese-American to have walked from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

“On behalf of all Vietnamese citizens in this country, we appreciate this land of freedom, opportunity and hope for everyone,” he said. “This is my way to show appreciation for the troops serving our nation. Americans have so many different ways to show gratitude to all the troops. This is my humble way.”

Nguyen will travel through Mississippi over the next few days, passing through Meridian, Jackson and Vicksburg. His route then takes him through Louisiana, his current hometown of Fort Worth, New Mexico, Arizona and his final destination, California.

“Hearing is defined by seeing,” his Web site says. “Seeing is described by living. Living is characterized by doing. This walk serves…to convince everyone, especially young people, that they can do something that is bigger than themselves.”

Nguyen can be reached via email at fromshoretoshore@yahoo.com.