Albero ends Wounded Warrior walk at Stadium
NEW YORK -- The goal was right there on the front of Richard Albero's lime-green T-shirt.
"Walking Tampa to the Bronx," it read, and that's exactly what Albero did, starting on March 2 on home plate at Steinbrenner Field and ending on Tuesday, when he touched home plate at Yankee Stadium to complete his 86-day, 1,150-mile walk.
Albero did it almost on a lark, but he eventually did it with a purpose. Albero raised approximately $27,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project, and honored his nephew Gary Albero, who died in the 9/11 attacks.
Richard Albero, a 65-year-old retired teacher who lives in Dunedin, Fla., is an avid Yankees fan who often attended games with his nephew. On Tuesday, before beginning the final leg of the walk from "The Bat" at the old Yankee Stadium site into the new Stadium, Albero went to Stan's Dugout bar and raised a toast to the Yankees and to Gary.
"During the walk, I thought, 'Was I achieving what I wanted to achieve?'" Albero said. "I think I did."
Members of the Wounded Warriors assisted him along the way, and six members accompanied Albero on the final leg. Albero, a military veteran, has become so close to the organization that he plans to remain involved even now that the walk is done.
"It helped me, when I was in pain from the walk, to think about what those guys had been through," he said.
Albero ran out of water in Jacksonville, Fla. He walked through high weeds and up hills in the Carolinas. He soaked his feet in water daily, and he had drivers to take him from the end of each leg to a hotel where he could spend the night.
Yes, it was worth it, Albero said, "without a doubt."
No, Albero wouldn't do it again. Not a chance.
Albero did it once, which is more than just about anyone else could say. He did it for a purpose, one chronicled at richardsyankeeswalk.org, where people can offer their support for Albero and the Wounded Warriors Project, even now that Albero has completed the walk.
"It seemed so far away," he said. "When I walk onto that field, it's just going to be a crazy, crazy feel."
Albero made it. From Tampa to the Bronx, all on foot.