71-year-old former Marine travels coast to coast for a good cause

BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - Rick Hermelin may be 71 years old but this former Marine is more active than most teenagers.

"In the past 35 years I've run 100 marathons, 100 half marathons, 100 10-K's, so I figured I'd do a run coast to coast," said Hermelin.

That's exactly what he's doing. After a sendoff at Waterfront Park in Beaufort, Hermelin set off on his 100 day journey for the Corps. Using am ElliptiGo bike, he is running from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island to the west coast.

"My destination is Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, where I did my boot camp," said Hermelin. "My first day was March 23...53 years ago, 1959."

Now he's making his way back to San Diego.

"I never got injured," said Hermelin. "It was a relatively peaceful time. I've been very healthy all my life, nothing hurts even after all those runs. This is my opportunity to give back and help."

So, as he makes his way across the country, he's raising money and awareness for a very worthy cause to help his fellow Marines who weren't so fortunate.

He's hoping to raise $10,000 for the Semper Fi Fund, which is a charity that supports injured Marines and their families.

"We provide assistance from the point of injury all the way through their recovery," said Kathy Wise, Semper Fi Fund. "We can assist with families coming to the bedside. We can assist the service member through their recovery with anything from housing adaptations to vehicle adaptations and education grants."

With each mile, Hermelin is proving the old saying once a Marine, always a Marine is still true.

To make a donation to the Semper Fi Fund visit: http://semperfifund.org/updates/100-for-the-corps/

Copyright 2012 WTOC. All rights reserved.