TShane Johnson’s Walk to Remember

In Features, Magazine by RI Magazine

The former Marine is on a new mission: to raise $1 million for troops in need.

Over the next three months, TShane Johnson will trek from Ground Zero in Manhattan to Lake Buena Vista, FL with a 100-pound pack on his back. He’ll cover 22 miles each morning, then bring his unique brand of motivational speaking to 180,000 people at 36 venues and take a crack at breaking two Guinness World Records: the fastest mile carrying a 100-pound pack (he’ll need to do it in less than 15 minutes) and the fastest marathon carrying the same pack (he’ll need to do it in less than 6.5 hours). And that’s not even the retired Marine’s most ambitious goal in that time: In raising awareness for America’s veterans (his 100-pound pack is meant to symbolize the burden of leadership), he also aims to raise $1 million, all of which will benefit the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program, which builds specially adapted smart homes for wounded veterans.

This is the fourth year of Johnson’s “Hike Across America” and figures to be his most impactful yet. Attendees to his lectures will hear life lessons from a man who served in the Marines from 1998-2002, deployed after 9-11, and endured three near-death experiences, including a motorcycle accident in which he was T-boned by a car and thrown 45 feet into a brick building.

Johnson didn’t just fully recover from physical decimation, he fought back from financial ruin, as well. After years of success in the mortgage banking world, Johnson lost everything during the housing collapse and lived out of his Toyota Camry for the next two years.

“Then I built three companies with over 40 million in sales out of a Dunkin’ Donuts using their free Wi-Fi,” Johnson said.

Johnson is a Rotarian and lives by the maxim, “Service above self.” You can purchase his book, Keep Your Feet Moving: 7 Principles To Get You Through Hard Times, on Amazon.

It is fitting that Johnson begins his journey on 9-11 – a day on which we didn’t just lose thousands of innocent civilian lives, but a day which signaled the start of an American military deployment in the Middle East that has no end in sight. These engagements have taxed the members of our armed forces beyond what could ever be reasonably expected; soldiers return home with alarming rates of PTSD and the military suicide rate has skyrocketed.

Johnson believes that a strong family anchor gives soldiers the best chance at leading balanced lives and reintegrating into civilian life. Goal-oriented members of the armed forces—much like a lot of businessmen—can excel when given a clear objective, but can struggle with delicate family matters.

“You talk to a lot of these guys, and they have the business side down of things to a T,” Johnson says, “But when you ask them to engage with their families and tell their kids how proud of them they are, they fail horribly.”

Simple re-prioritization can fix much of what disrupts family bonds.

“We’re not making the time and not connecting,” says Johnson, whose forthcoming book, Done By 2:30: The Essential Guide To A Successful Work Life Balance, releases early next year. (You can pre-order it HERE.) “It’s about how to accomplish your goals with work as quickly as possible so you can spend quality time with your family… We’re interesting creatures because when it comes to something we really want, we find a way to get it no matter what.”

To learn more about Johnson’s Hike Across America or to donate, click HERE.