96-year-old veteran makes strides across coast

World War II veteran walked almost five miles in Ocean Springs for second walk across America

96-year-old veteran makes strides across coast
Ernie Andrus (middle), finishes his 4.77-mile trek through Ocean Springs. (Source: wlox)

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) -You’re never too old to learn, or in 96-year-old Ernie Andrus’s case, to travel thousands of miles on foot.

Monday’s leg was a 4.77-mile trek through Ocean Springs. It was also his second walk across America.

“This is the second time I’ve gone coast to coast,” Andrus said. “I finished the first one just after my 93rd birthday.”

Andrus said he got the idea from another cross-country runner.

“There’s a fella that came from Great Britain, and he was running across every country," Andrus said. "When he came through the U.S., he came through Prescott, Arizona where I was living. I said, ‘hey, that’s something I’d like to do.’”

During this trip, Andrus is raising awareness and funds for the Landing Ship Tank-325 ship memorial. The LST is the same type of vessel he was on many years ago, and it’s the last fully operational World War II Landing Ship.

“I was on the first LST to hit the beach in Saipan,” he said. “It was the most fireworks I ever saw in my life.”

Although there were no fireworks when Ernie finished his incursion, he did get some well-deserved appreciation from the city’s fire department.

“I had a nice crew with me,” Andrus said. "This was a nice run today, and a nice welcoming party. It was an easy run-- just enough up and downs to make me switch muscles.”

After taking a few days off, Andrus said he’ll start the next leg of his journey, which is over the Biloxi/Ocean Springs Bridge onto the Biloxi Lighthouse.

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