July 5, 2014 at 11:41 PM CDT - Updated July 27 at 7:15 AM
QULIN, MO (KAIT) - During the Fourth of July holiday weekend, people around the country celebrate America's freedom
and the men and women who fight and give their lives to keep it that way.
But one Colorado man is running coast to coast to make sure all of us remember these heroes 365 days of the year.
"I've been wanting to do this for a long time and I figured I better do it before I got too old," Jim Shiew said.
The 70-year-old runner began his cross country journey in Colorado Nov. 1 and runs about 14 miles every day. Shiew hit 2,400 miles when he reached Qulin, Missouri July 5.
"Only a thousand miles to go," Shiew said.
His only companions are a small station wagon and a van he now calls home.
"Drive the van forward two to three miles and then run back, pick up the car, drive it forward and just keep moving that way," Shiew said.
Shiew admits the journey has not been easy.
"When I first started, I didn't know if I could do it," Shiew said. "I had sore knees, a sore back and sore feet."
But Shiew said there's no turning back now, even though his friends and family aren't so sure.
"They're all behind me, but they still have their doubts about why I'm doing it and they think I'm crazy for running," Shiew said.
While most people run for exercise, that's not what motivates Shiew.
"I started running in 1990," Shiew said. "I lost a friend in a car accident and he was a runner so we had a 5K for him."
Since then, Shiew's runs have always had a philanthropic purpose, and this cross country run is no exception. He is trying to raise $50,000 for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
"They're the first in and the last out and a lot of them don't come back," Shiew said. "This organization takes care of their families and takes care of them if they're injured. They've dedicated their lives. Once they're a vet, they're a vet and they act like it's no big deal, but it is. Thank you for your service. That's so important. I know they hear that sometimes but not enough."
He is not running for any veteran in particular, but as an Army vet who served in South Korea, Shiew can put many faces to his mission.
"This is quite the undertaking," Shiew said. "Day after day after day is what's tough about it. But I'm not hurting myself. I'm having fun, meeting a lot of new people and seeing some beautiful country. It's really been a good experience so far."
Shiew hopes to end his journey in Virginia Beach, Virginia by mid-October. He said he will not know how much money he raised until after he is finished running.
If anyone would like to donate to Shiew's efforts for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation or contribute to his gas or camping fees, visit the SOWF website.
Shiew said 95 percent of every donation goes straight to special operations forces.
"Thanks to all the people who honk and wave and that have donated," Shiew said. "A lot of them donate by letting me stay at their places for free and that's very much appreciated. It all eventually gets to the special ops."
Shiew said his plans after his cross country run include not running. He said he may never run again because he will probably be sick of it.
Instead,he said he would love to do something like the TV show, "Storage Wars," and eat healthier than gas station food.