22-year-old Andy Galata has huge blisters on his feet. Galata, relieved to reach Santa Rosa County and into the family of Al and Sally Melvin, is on his way home. He says he is on a mission. Covering 6,000 miles sporting his trademark Superman t- shirt and cape, Galata hopes to raise 10,000 dollars for a children’s charity near to his heart.
At the present however, it is blisters and fatigue that are nearest to him.
Galata shared highlights of his venture with the Boys and Girls Club at the East Milton Recreational Park. Bicycling from Imperial Beach, California to St. Augustine - pulling a cart that looks similar to a baby stroller - offered a lot of wanted and unwanted attention. While he was in Chicago his bicycle was stolen; he was stopped and questioned by law enforcement, his running shoes were soaked from rain; and he traveled hungry. But even after almost being hit by an automobile and crashing, Galata emphasizes that he refuses to be defeated.
He says if he does not reach his monetary goal on his long walk back home, he may increase his scheduled itinerary home until he does accomplish his goal. Galata is determined to make a difference in the lives of children and their families who find themselves at the Children’s Inn at the National Institute for Health in Maryland after they have completed chemotherapy treatments.
Al and Sally Melvin say they have hosted cross-country bicyclists in their home, from all over the world. The Melvin’s, who reside in Milton, find optimism in today’s young adults who willingly sacrifice their time and physical energy to make a difference in the world. The family provides meals, local transportation, bicycle maintenance support and a room to their weary guests who are located through an international hospitality service titled Warmshowers. Galata and the Melvin’s appear to be old friends and find encouragement in each other’s aspiration to help others.
Galata confides he is considering altering his strategy as he walks back to California. He says he might travel during the night to avoid the penetrating heat. The days facing him as he travels across the deserts of Texas and New Mexico are already in his forethoughts.
Galata’s 6000-mile adventure can be followed on his Facebook account David Galata Journey Around America.