LU Law Students Hike 100 Miles for Wounded Warriors
Lynchburg, VA- Two Liberty University Law students are hiking across the state to raise money for something close to their hearts.
Both Mark Finelli and Ryan Adams have dedicated themselves to bettering the lives of wounded warriors. They call the trip the 100 Mile Hump. They're making the journey from Liberty University to Hampden Sydney, and back.
It's the fourth year of the trip, and the second one held in Virginia. It's an effort that raises nearly $12,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project every year.
For Finelli and Adams, it's a time of struggle, reflection, and determination.
"I'll start feeling bad for myself sometime around tomorrow night," said Finelli.
"My rucksack weighs about 90 pounds so for the first seven miles I was thinking about that," said Adams.
"And then I'll say I have two legs, and quit feeling bad for yourself," said Finelli.
Finelli is a survivor of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. It was an experience that led him to join the Marines.
"Got out of 61 flights of the south tower without a scratch. I joined the Marine Corps, went to Fallujah for six and a half months in the infantry, left without a scratch," said Finelli.
"I will fully admit I have survivor's guilt. From all the things I've been in, not having any kind of scratch or wound at all, nothing. I'm really blessed and at a minimum I can do this."
Finelli started the 100 Mile Hump four years ago. Last year, he made the trip to Hampden Sydney all by himself. This year, he has some company.
"I have to do something to be able to give back. And for me this is the least we could do. And it's not about us, it's about them," said Adams.
Adams is also a second year law student, and a recent member of the Virginia National Guard.
"We're grateful to be able to have two legs to do it. There's a lot of other people that don't have that. And it's a privilege to be able to do something like this. It's an honor."
For both Finelli and Adams, every mile that lies before them, is another chance to give back.
"That's what drives you forward, is knowing that maybe the discomfort you're going through right now will provide a soldier that's been wounded, a better Christmas and a better life," Adams said.
As of Friday evening, Finelli and Adams had raised more than $6,600 for the Wounded Warrior's Project. Their goal for this year's walk is $10,000, but Finelli is hoping to go above and beyond that point.