Locals help Veteran on 2,650-mile walk
Employees at Garrett Country Mart in Sabetha and the Brown County Sheriff’s Office showed an out-of-state veteran compassion on Sunday, April 14, during his 2,650-mile walk from Keystone Heights, Fla., to Couer d’Alene, Idaho.
Ken Brock and his four-legged traveling companion and service dog, Pam, started their journey off on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. They are walking in support of wounded veterans. His goal is to complete the walking trip of 2,650 miles by July 4, 2019.
According to Brock, as he was coming into Sabetha on Sunday, April 14, he stopped at Country Mart to pick up a few things.
“A couple of employees came outside to see what I was doing, and then they saw the sign and started asking questions,” Brock said. “I think I kind of blew their minds when I told him what I was doing and when I started.”
The group eventually went inside so Brock could get the items he needed.
While Brock was shopping in the fruit section, Country Mart employee and Sabetha High School senior, Austyn Wilbar, approached Brock and gave him a $100 gift card that he had won the previous night at the Sabetha High School After Prom.
“He said the gift card was $100 and that he wanted me to have it as a thank you for being in the service and what I was doing,” Brock said. “For the first time on this journey, I actually felt guilty accepting money for donations. Austyn, you are such an awesome, thoughtful and caring young man, and I don’t know where to begin to thank you. But from the deepest part of my heart I wish to thank you for your gift.”
After receiving the gift from Wilbar, Brock went up to the register to find out about another gift.
“I came back up to the front register and after everything was rung up and totaled, the cashier said ‘Thank you but the employees all came together and paid for your groceries,’” Brock said. “I was actually left speechless. It just amazes me the kindness and acts of love that people show towards a total stranger when they find out what mission he is on”
A few days later, Country Mart Manager Dan Wenger received a letter and two Certificates of Appreciation from Robert Beinlich, Commander of AMVETS Post No. 86, in Keystone Heights, Fla. The two Certificates of Appreciation were for Austyn Wilbar and Country Mart Grocery. A portion of the letter said:
“Kindly accept this small token of our appreciation for your kindness and support to our brother in Amvets, Ken Brock – an American Veteran… Ken’s story of his experience with you and your employees touched us deeply. Ken was overwhelmed with their generosity by paying for this groceries. Austyn’s gift will always be particularly memorable, and learning that Austyn will be entering the military soon is of special significance to all. Enclosed is a separate Certificate for Austyn in hopes that it will serve as an inspiration to him when times are tough.”
Wenger confirmed that they reimbursed Wilbar’s $100 gift card.
Brock also was greeted by Brown County Sheriff John Merchant when he was a few miles outside of Hiawatha on Sunday, April 14.
“Sheriff Merchant was informed by some of his deputies that I was almost in town,” Brock said. “He came out to personally greet me and welcome me to the area. Sheriff Merchant also extended his greeting by letting me know that the Brown County Sheriff’s Office will be taking care of my hotel stay for the evening. How amazing is that. I cannot thank Sheriff Merchant and the Brown County Sheriff’s Office enough.”
Brock, Pam and their entire journey can be followed on Facebook on Ken Brock’s page.