Ex-Giant ends cross-country walk for 9/11 relief

Associated Press
June 21, 2008

Ex-New York Giants lineman George Martin went through 24 pairs of shoes and
lost 40 pounds before finishing his cross-country walk Saturday, raising $2
million along the way for sick 9/11 rescue workers.

Martin ended his nine-month, 3,003-mile trek at Embarcadero Park, where he
was met by police officers, firefighters and other NFL alumni.

“I feel like a million bucks,” Martin said. “Other than a blister
that I have on my left foot, I’m in great shape.”

The co-captain of the 1987 Super Bowl champions said he considered it a privilege
to walk on behalf of the 9/11 first responders. He called them far more heroic
than any professional athlete.

“What they did on that day, I could never do in a million years,”
Martin said.

He began the walk in New York on Sept. 16 to draw attention to the plight of
rescue and recovery workers who developed respiratory problems after working
in the dusty ruins of the World Trade Center.

“These heroes need our collective support,” Martin said in a statement.
“Many who answered our nation’s call for help now cannot even walk up the
steps in their own homes due to severe respiratory and other ailments. Some
are dying. They deserve our help.”

The trip began on the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan to Hackensack,
N.J., on his way to a halftime appearance at Giants Stadium. Martin walked south
to Tennessee, west through Texas and across the high plains and desert to California.

He trudged through rainstorms, winter ice and brutal heat, and the trip took
five months longer than expected. He averaged 22 miles per day and burned through
80 pairs of socks.

Martin, who played 14 years in the NFL, is an executive at the financial services
firm AXA Equitable. He lives in New Jersey.

The walk wasn’t without hitches. Strong headwind forced him to walk some parts
of his route backward, from west to east, because it was too exhausting.

“While this has been a difficult undertaking, it has also been wonderful
to see our nation on foot while raising awareness about the plight of these
9/11 workers,” Martin said.

He originally planned to reach the Golden Gate Bridge, but adjusted his route
to finish in San Diego.

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