SPOKANE, Wash. — Mike Ellis, his brother Brian and their cousin Todd started an 100-mile walk on Thursday at the Washington-Idaho border in snow and heavy wind.
The trio are walking around the Spokane area to raise money for Quilts of Valor, a non-profit with local chapters that make quilts for past and current servicemembers.
"With each quilt that's created from this money that's raised from this walk, a servicemember or a veteran is honored," Mike said.
They plan on walking 39 miles on Thursday and Friday, doing the final 22 miles on Saturday. The trio took a break at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Riverfront Park on Thursday afternoon, which will also be where the group ends their journey on Saturday.
So far, the group has raised about $4,000. The money has come from a variety of donations from across Eastern Washington.
"People from as far away as Tonasket and the Tri Cities, that have mailed us checks," Mike said. "A group of Lutheran omen from Tonasket sent us a check for $200."
Each quilt costs about $300 to make, meaning the trio has raised enough for about 13 quilts.
Mike said he has heard stories from people who have received quilts in the past, and the donations have been impactful.
"I even got a story from a daughter who's father got a quilt while he was alive," he said. "It meant so much to him that they draped it over his casket at his funeral."
The group is still taking donations, and more about the project can be found on Mike Ellis' Facebook page.