Captain America and his signature red, white and blue shield took a walk through Pullman this week on a mission to help a local veteran.
Allen Mullins donned the iconic costume and drew the attention of drivers traveling down South Grand Avenue in the morning hours Wednesday. Later in the day and into Thursday, he posed for pictures across the city.
For 12 years, Mullins has taken treks across America dressed as various superheroes and raising money for veterans.
“I go across the country and I find veterans, people that need help,” he said. “We organize a walk and I get out and do it for them.”
This time, he is walking for Pullman’s Gary Jorgens, a retired Air Force medic who is in need of a new trailer or apartment to live in. So far, Mullins said he has raised about $4,000 for Jorgens.
“This walk is going to help him get the finances he needs to get a place to live,” Mullins said.
Jorgens said he has lived in Pullman for 17 years and his 1955 single-wide trailer is nearing unsafe conditions.
Jorgens met Mullins through a mutual friend, and when Mullins heard about Jorgens’ situation, he offered to help. Jorgens said he does not usually accept charity, but Mullins’ offer was a “godsend.”
“I think that’s just a completely awesome thing to do,” Jorgens said.
Mullins’ initial plan was to walk from Washington to Virginia, but since he anticipates raising enough money for Jorgens sooner than expected, he now plans to head back west to Seattle.
Mullins said he’s helped veterans in Oregon and Texas, he’s walked through every state capital twice except for Honolulu and Juneau, and he trades football cards for supplies.
He also gave up his own home for the cause.
“You can’t have a house, land and a job if you’re just going to run around the country to try to help people,” he said.
He said his motivation comes from what he calls, “hypocrisy of life.”
When he was young, he was told to honor people in uniform by thanking them for their service.
“Then when I got older, I’ve seen a lot of them being homeless, getting arrested for being homeless, digging out of garbage cans and eating, getting arrested for doing that,” he said. “And just the things I’ve seen contradicted what I was told. And I was like,’Heck, if something’s going to happen, I got to do something myself I guess.’ “
How does Mullins get people to care? Costumes.
Mullins said he has dressed as Superman, Batman and Spiderman, among others.
“Everybody’s got their superhero,” he said.
He said people will often honk their horns when they drive by. Occasionally, people will pull over and talk to him. He invites photos from the public and his progress can be tracked on his Facebook group.
Jorgen’s GoFundMe page can be found at gofundme.com/f/walk-for-a-medic.
Anthony Kuipers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.