Sarasota man drives 1948 tractor across country to support veterans

Sarasota man drives 1948 tractor across country to support veterans

C. Ivan Stoltzfus, a retired Sarasota farmer, raises funds and awareness for Operation Second Chance. A Sarasota man drove his modified 1948 John Deere tractor 5,500 miles across the country to support veterans. C. Ivan Stoltzfus, a retired Sarasota farmer, took his cross-country trip, never going above 14 mph, to raise funds and awareness for Operation Second Chance , a nonprofit that provides emergency financial assistance to wounded, injured and ill service members and their families. On May 10, he left Germantown, Maryland. He traveled alone, meeting veterans and their families along the way and sleeping in a camper that he pulled behind the tractor. On the road, people flagged him down to leave a donation or to talk about their family’s experience in the military. Stoltzfus isn’t a veteran, but he’s devoted to the cause. “I always felt like I took my freedom for granted and I wanted to do my part,” he said. “I’ve seen so many veterans come back into civil life, and just really struggle. I want to do something on my part to help bring awareness to the PTSD of veterans and first responders.” His inspiration to drive a tractor across the country came from his father, who drove his two-cylinder farming tractor across the country when he was 26. “I thought, ‘Some day I want to go for a cause,’” Stoltzfus said. “Later in life, my father said, ‘Ivan, if you have a dream, don’t wait you’re too old to do it, just do it.’ When I did get older, I thought, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it now.” Before Stoltzfus began his journey, his friend Jeremy Jackson gave him a gift to take with him on the road. “He handed me a little box, I opened it […]

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