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    The first step: 1st MARDIV Marine walks for 24 hours for charity

    The first step: 1st MARDIV Marine walks for 24 hours for charity

    Photo By Cpl. Megan Roses | U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Lukas Atwell, the Communication Strategy and Operations staff...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. Megan Roses 

    Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

    According to Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

    For U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Lukas Atwell, the Communication Strategy and Operations staff noncommissioned officer in charge with 1st Marine Division, the journey of 64.82 miles began with just one step. That’s how far Atwell walked in 24 hours Oct. 19 to raise money for charity.

    Atwell’s journey began over the summer as he watched friends and people in his social media circles share posts asking for donations to charities. A lot of the posts prompted him to question whether or not they ended up having any kind of positive impact.

    “A lot of times people just share stuff online about a cause, but they don’t actually do anything else,” said Atwell. “Or they post about something, and they don’t do anything beyond that. They think that all this output equals outcomes, but it doesn’t.”

    Atwell started to think about how he could do something different. Not just that, but he wanted to show his kids how they could actually make a change in the world as well. But what cause could people rally behind without starting an argument? What charity should he focus on?

    “I wanted to look for a way for people to be able to contribute to causes they believed in, and I knew there had to be something at the heart of it that they would support, something that would drive their good intentions,” explained Atwell.

    And thus “First Step 24” was born. He would test his endurance, and ask those in his social media circles to pledge to donate to the charity of their choice based on how far he walked. No empty gestures; he now literally had skin in the game.

    Atwell created a Facebook page where he chronicled his training and preparation for his day-long journey. Day after day, mile after mile, Atwell slowly increased the time and mileage of his training walks.

    Each new pledge increased his motivation and gave him the drive to train. With each new pledge, Atwell knew he’d raised that much more money for each mile he was able to walk.

    And then as the clock crossed into the first few minutes of Oct. 19, Atwell stepped off on his journey. He started in Oceanside, walked along the coast down to San Diego, and then came all the way back, posting regular updates along the way so his friends and donors could track his progress. At the end of the day, and almost 65 miles later, Atwell raised $6,045 dollars in pledges for 24 different charities including the Gary Sinise Foundation, the American Red Cross and the Semper Fi Fund.

    “People say that to do something really good in this world, to make an impact, you’ve got to come together,” said Atwell. “It doesn’t matter who you’re coming together with or what their background is, it just takes people working together.”



    Date Taken: 11.06.2019
    Date Posted: 11.06.2019 23:58
    Story ID: 350820
    Location: CAMP PENDLETON , CA, US 

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