San Diego native committed to kindness makes trek across country
Armand Young has been blazing a trail of kindness.
With a 6-foot, 60-pound bamboo pole on his back, the San Diego man has walked to 9/11 memorials in Somerset County and New York to honor fallen soldiers, collecting thousands of signatures over as many miles.
“My plan when I started was to change the world any way I could,” Young said Wednesday from the Wingate by Wyndham hotel along Route 30 in Unity. “I want to see a million acts of kindness behind my walk.”
Young, 49, continued his journey through Western Pennsylvania on Wednesday afternoon, stopping in Latrobe and then resuming his trek west to California, where his cross-country walk started in April 2007.
He carries the pole, which is decorated with firefighter badges and stickers collected along the way. American flags sprout from the top, bearing 549,000 signatures in black marker.
Young requests that each person who signs will commit an act of kindness within 24 hours, either in honor of a fallen soldier or for someone who was killed in terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City, Somerset County and Arlington, Va.
“These soldiers now, they're dying for us to make our country a better place,” Young said.
Linda Skillings, Wingate executive housekeeper, signed one of the flags this week. She offered him prayers for the journey as an act of kindness.
Young started his walk from Santa Monica, Calif., and gave up a job as a masseuse, he said. The trip came to a halt in November 2008 when Young was in the state of Indiana after his mother died and he got married.
Later, Young started walking again and arrived at Ground Zero in New York City in September 2010 to honor the victims of terrorist attacks when two hijacked planes brought down the World Trade Center towers.
A third airplane was flown into the Pentagon and a fourth, headed for the nation's capital, was downed by passengers in a Somerset County field.
Young visited the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville earlier this month.
From New York City, Young walked to Gettysburg and took a break. He resumed earlier this year and passed through Latrobe Wednesday on his way back to California. He expects to complete the trip in another year.
“I live everywhere,” he said.
Young travels light — he carries a Thermos and a small backpack with a change of clothes and shoes. He walks 10 to 20 miles daily, carrying the bamboo pole and stopping to get signatures.
Young has relied on the kindness of strangers during his journey, sometimes camping out and other times sleeping in a comfortable bed.
Wingate manager Audra Aliff said she gave Young a complimentary room. Employees offered him a bag of snacks to take along, but Young declined.
Skillings went outside Wednesday to see Young off on his journey.
“It's amazing to meet people like that,” Skillings said. “I'll keep in touch with him.”
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Endowment of $3.49B makes University of Pittsburgh 25th richest in U.S.
- Westmoreland County settles with fired public defender
- Three injured in two-vehicle accident on Arona Road in Hempfield
- Suspect in West Newton burglary sought, alleged accomplice arrested
- Rostraver Democrat aims for 1 of 3 open spots on Westmoreland County bench
- IRS scam snares another Westmoreland County resident
- Tenaska natural gas-fueled power plant’s foes air concerns to Westmoreland commissioners
- Comment periods left intact at Southmoreland School Board meetings
- Power plant proposal aired in open forum in South Huntingdon
- Latrobe police seek driver of red cargo van
- Westmoreland County Prison visitation goes digital