This Veterans Day weekend, a Rock Hill native, U.S. military veteran and Bronze Star recipient will traverse 80 miles along Carolina Thread Trail to raise money for a nonprofit organization that serves military children.
1st Lt. Carter Langston deployed in August of last year to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan with the 210th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment of the U.S. Army Reserves.
Langston served as a public affairs officer for the Regional Command - East Communications Center. His objective was to work with Afghan reporters, informing them of news events and helping them access local leaders and military sources.
His work in Afghanistan earned him the Bronze Star.
Since returning home from deployment in September, Langston has wanted to give back to the community.
Langston decided to walk the Carolina Thread Trail, a system of trails spanning 15 counties in the Carolinas totaling 80 miles, and raise donations for Our Military Kids, a nonprofit that helps the children of deployed National Guardsmen, Military Reservists and Wounded Warriors stay engaged in productive activities during their parents' absence.
"I am walking to honor all veterans and to raise funds for a fantastic organization that helped my family, particularly my children, during my own deployment last year," Langston said.
While away, Langston's two children received grants from Our Military Kids that allowed them to participate in arts, scouts and extracurricular tutoring programs.
"I also see this as a great opportunity to utilize our natural outdoor recreation spaces and support efforts to better connect our communities to nature," he said.
Rather than traverse every trail in the system, Langston will focus on longer trails in Mecklenburg and York counties.
Langston will walk or run 27 miles each day on trails in Mecklenburg County, N.C., on Friday and Saturday, and in York County on Sunday.
Focusing on fewer trails will also give others a chance to join him, he said.
"This is for Our Military Kids and the organization has done a lot for all reservists and national guardsmen."
Langston invites reservists, national guardsmen and their families to walk with him. He'll set a pace of about 3 miles per hour, he said.
As of Wednesday, Langston had raised more than $300 in sponsorships toward his goal of $1,000.
Want to give?
Donate at www.ourmilitarykids.org or by check payable to: Our Military Kids, Inc., 6861 Elm Street, Suite 2A, McLean, VA 22101. Include Carter Langston or Carolina Thread Trail in your note.
Want to walk?
Walk with Langston on Friday and Saturday between 7:45 and 7:55 a.m. at the Kirk Farm Fields, 210 E. Mallard Creek Church Road in Charlotte. He will be walking the Clarks Creek, Mallard Creek and Toby Creek (Ruth Shaw) greenways along the Carolina Thread Trail in Mecklenburg County all day.
On Sunday, catch Langston between 7:45 and 7:55 a.m. at the Baxter Village Library in Fort Mill. He will be walking the Baxter Village Trail most of the day before finishing at the Riverwalk Trail in Rock Hill.