99-Year-old SE Minnesota Vet Walking to Help COVID Victims
Clarks Grove, MN (KROC AM News) - He may be approaching the age of 100 but a southeast Minnesota man is still working on his bucket list and his latest goal is to help those affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
The Salvation Army Northern Division, which supplies food and emergency assistance to all of Minnesota and North Dakota, says it was recently contacted by Mickey Nelson.
The 99-year-old lifelong resident of the small Freeborn County town of Clarks Grove has decided to raise money for the Salvation Army by walking 100 miles by the end of this summer.
He’s calling his effort, “Walking to 100,” not only because he will walk 100 miles, but also because he is turning 100 years old next month.
The Salvation Army says Nelson is hoping people will donate money to support his effort to help others. Its service centers have been on the front lines of food distribution since the pandemic began as distributions of groceries have increased as much as 900% in some locations. Statistics show that 700,000 Minnesotans and North Dakotans have filed for unemployment since the start of the pandemic, roughly 20% of the workforce. As much as 40% of the recently unemployed have never before visited a food shelf but now find themselves relying on them to help feed their families.
“I know that people are struggling, either from the illness or a job loss from all the businesses shutting down,” Mickey said recently. “I just thought there was something I could do to help.”
“We have been working very hard to help those in need since mid-March. Our staff is working overtime and our resources are being stretched like never before,” said Lt. Colonel Lonneal Richardson, commander of The Salvation Army Northern Division. “But this effort being made by Mickey is truly selfless, and we are grateful for and inspired by his efforts.”
Nelson has accomplished a great deal in his 99 years, including his military service maintaining tanks in an armored division during World War II. As a businessman, he owned a successful bus business for 58 years, as well as a sand and gravel company. He’s a fixture in Clarks Grove, often seen walking down Main Street, past the hardware store and the post office, and The Salvation Army clothing donation box. Just about everybody in town knows Mickey and waves hello while he’s out walking.
To support Mickey on his walks this summer, click here.