Army Infantry Veteran Walks the Beaches of Normandy for Fisher House Foundation Story by Kerri Childress
Hayden Blumenfeld recently walked the D-Day beaches Hayden’s grandfathers served in WWII, and he followed in Normandy, France. But he didn’t go as a tourist. His 55- in their footsteps to become an Infantry officer in the mile walk was to support veterans and their families through Army. He still serves in the Army Reserves. He is also Fisher House Foundation. a firefighter in California and, last summer, joined hundreds of others fighting the fires in Yosemite “It was a powerful experience,” said National Park. Hayden, who lives in Irvine, CA. “It’s important to remember the past and never forget the sacrifices of our “I joined the military to be part of military before us. To me, the invasion something bigger than myself. I also of Normandy was such a pivotal point wanted to serve my country, to give back. in WWII and, ultimately, how we live It’s why I fight wild fires today—to be of today and the freedoms we have.” service,” Hayden said. Hayden sailed from Portsmouth, England, to the coast of France. He walked all five of the D-Day landing beaches, as well as the Normandy American Cemetery. He completed the journey in just 2 ½ days, finishing at the Utah Beach Landing Museum. “I literally walked through a pair of shoes and didn’t bring anymore. My feet took a beating. If I were to do this all over again, I would take more time, stop in the nearby towns along the way and learn their history too,” he said.
A University of California, Berkeley graduate, Hayden chose to support Fisher House for two reasons. “First, I love that Fisher House Foundation serves veterans from all wars. And, secondly, I think taking care of veterans’ families is one of the best ways to serve veterans because the families served too.” To follow the walk or to make donations, please visit marchwiththem.org.
There are those who speak about you, and say, ‘He lost an arm; he lost a leg; she lost her sight.’ I object. You
gave your arm; you gave your leg; you gave your sight— as gifts to your nation so that we might live in freedom.
Thank you. And to your families—families of the fallen and families of the wounded—you’ve sacrificed in ways
that those of us who have not walked in your shoes can only imagine.
Gen. Peter Pace, USMC (Ret.) with his wife, Lynne Pace, who is a trustee for Fisher House Foundation, at the newest Fisher House in Palo Alto, CA.
THE PATRIOT • VOLUME 10 • ISSUE 2 • 2019
— Gen. Peter Pace, USMC (Ret.) Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff