Man on Love Life Walk passes through Fresno County
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- You might have seen a man walking along the west-side of Fresno County with a sign that says "Love Life."
That man is 67-year-old Steve Fugate originally from Vero Beach, Florida and he's been walking across the United States wanting as many people to read his sign.
He reached Kerman, Wednesday afternoon. At that point, he had walked more than 34,000 miles and burned through more than 50 pairs of shoes.
"I've walked straight across the United States twice, and then I walked around the United States completely. Then I walked from corner to corner of the United States, like an hour glass thing," Fugate explained.
This time, Fugate is trying to step foot on every state on the same trip. He's walked through 21 states so far, and countless people have seen his life.
"I know what not loving life can cause," he said. "my suggestion to everybody is to love life."
His message is born out of tragedy. In 1999, Fugate's son, Stevie, committed suicide at the age of 26.
"I realized that I didn't want other parents to go through the horrible pain I was suffering," Fugate explained. "I didn't want young people to miss out on loving life."
Six years after his son's death, Steve's daughter, Michele, died from a drug over dose. It fueled Steve to keep moving and practice what he preaches.
"Both my babies are gone and that's devastating to me, but I love life," he said.
During his journeys, Steve survives off a small social security pension and the kindness of people he meets. He drags his belongings in a small cart, which includes a cell phone and a lap-top so he can share his journey with his followers on social media.
Though sharing his story face to face is what Steve does best, he was a following online. When he stopped at Reno's Bar and Grill in Kerman, he met Adrian Apodaca, who had heard all about him.
"As soon as he came in, I knew who he was," Apodaca said. "I was just reading the story yesterday. One of my friends posted it on Facebook, and I was pretty touched by it. It's awesome."
Steve says a group from Vero Beach is selling T-shirt and sends him some money to survive, but it's not something he counts on. He doesn't call his expedition a campaign and his goal isn't to raise any money.
"It's not about fundraising, I don't want to make a nickel out of this," Fugate said. "It's in honor of my children, no doubt, this is how I'm making my children proud of their daddy, and that's why I'm doing this."
To Fugate it's about the message and the road, no matter how long or grueling it may seem.
fresno county, kerman, local, anthony pura
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