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Huntington native walking nation for March of Dimes

Jun. 02, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Huntington native Michael Weber finished a six-year career in the U.S. Army and plans to walk across the country to help him figure out his next phase of life.

But Weber said he didn't want to just walk for himself. So he decided to walk for the March of Dimes and raise money for the organization now through the end of the journey.

"The whole walk across country was something I thought of in Iraq (last year)," said Weber. "I needed to do something that would allow me to think about what I wanted to do, give me some clarity and peace of mind."

It's actually been a rough patch for Weber, who isn't shy about sharing. He completed two tours of duty in Iraq and made staff sergeant in four years. But during his second tour last year, his personal life was affecting his focus, he said.

He was going through a divorce and his mother had been in and out of the hospital. His superiors took note, and Weber received an honorable discharge.

"I just want to take some time," Weber said. "I'll be 29 years old and I'm looking for the next chapter of my life."

He's also the father of two young children, and he said tying his walk to the March of Dimes allows him to set an example for them and help babies who are fighting for a first chance.

He plans to leave Wednesday, June 20, which is West Virginia Day, departing from Ritter Park. He plans to take U.S. 60 all the way to Lexington, then take the Kentucky Parkway to Memphis, Tenn. He said he'll take back roads along Interstate 40 through a number of states, including Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, on his way to California.

Weber said he'll tote a tent in his backpack but is hoping to work out a sponsorship with a hotel chain to allow him to get showers and sleep in a bed. Those who want to support Weber and the March of Dimes can visit his March for Babies page at www.marchforbabies.org/personal_page.asp?pp=4491118&ct=4&w=5718038&u=mweber.

"I'm on a journey to discover what the next step is," he said. "Finish out the year and see what 2013 brings."