Fox News – If all goes according to plan, Chris Ring, a 28-year-old Navy combat veteran, will become the first American to swim the length of the Mississippi River when he reaches the Gulf of Mexico early next month.
But for Ring, the achievement would be secondary to his larger goal: To raise awareness of so-called Gold Star Families, the designation given to loved ones of soldiers killed in combat.
“We all have what we have today because of these families and their loved ones,” Ring told the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss. during a break from his exertions near Vicksburg. Ring said he had heard of people unknowingly congratulating families of fallen service members when hearing of their Gold Star status.
“And the [families are] like, ‘Do you even know what that means?'” Ring told the paper. “And then they tell them and everyone’s like, ‘Oh, it’s awkward,’ and they want to walk away.”
By the time he reaches the Gulf, Ring will have swum 2,552 miles. Accompanied by a support team in a kayak, Ring averages 6.5 miles and 14 hours in the water each day, though he can make it up to 30 miles depending on the current and weather conditions.
There’s been a lot of frustrating stuff this week but I saw a commenter post a link to this story in my last Mizzou blog and while bloggers usually don’t take requests like an overnight radio DJ (those still exist right? Please don’t take away all the things I used to know), I figured this was a good exception. I mean can you imagine caring so much about a cause that you would swim for the equivalent of the worst work day ever EVERY SINGLE DAY for months? And for Chris Ring to do it all through presumably disgusting water (I may be wrong here but the nearest river to me is New York’s East River and if you swam that for six months you would likely gain superpowers) at that? Add in the fact that it’s something so selfless and seemingly helpful to families who’ve experienced more than their share of grief and it’s an awesome story to hear any time, but especially on Veterans Day. This is someone who we can all agree is touching lives and doing some good for others and it’s nice to see it still happens sometimes. YOU CAN DONATE TO CHRIS RING’S SWIM FOR SACRIFICE HERE
That said, if you’re going to do something for 14 hours a day, one where you can pee while doing it would probably be ideal. Also Chris Ring is going to be shredded as hell when he’s done with this even if he’s somehow eating like that famous Michael Phelps diet. Definitely another added bonus to the raising awareness for a good cause and immense physical torture, that’s for sure.
PS Is there any question at all about whether Chris Ring could finish the 6/12/18/24 challenge in five hours flat thanks to his endless supply of determination? Not quite as charitable but still, a worthwhile sequel. Just throwing it out there.