The Fourth of July fireworks may be cancelled in Jackson, but Dusty Campbell is still hoping for an Independence Day finale.
The 31-year-old physical therapist from Salt Lake City is embarking on a three day, 285-mile trip from Jackson Hole to his hometown, and he’s doing it all on six 110mm wheels. The rollerblades will take Campbell 8,000 feet up and 10,000 feet in descent, all in an effort to bring awareness and financial support to the Wounded Warrior Project.
He departs the Town Square on Friday afternoon, July 2, and hopes to roll into Liberty Park on July 4.
“It will be hell,” he said. “But my suffering won't even come close to what those service members have gone through.”
Campbell first became interested in Wounded Warriors when he found his college friend sobbing in the back room of a party. That friend, a former marine, was easily 6 feet tall and weighed 230. But PTSD crumpled his frame, and pushed his friend, the physical therapist, to action.
Through a campaign on the non-profit’s website, Campbell is trying to raise $100,000 for wounded warriors: veterans in need of physical and mental rehabilitation following service in the U.S. armed forces. Donations made on Independence Day will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $75,000 by the Blue Angels Foundation, according to the website.
A former hockey player, Campbell figured he’d feel more comfortable skating than biking, but he didn’t actually try on a pair of blades until this January. His ultramarathon friends have told him he’s crazy.
Fortunately, he’ll have the support of his girlfriend, dad and stepmom in a chaser van with snacks and a backup pair of blades.
The route will take him through Alpine and Soda Springs, then Preston and Logan, where he’ll shoot over to Highway 15 rather than taking the short cut to Brigham City.
Fans who want to keep tabs on the feat can follow @pt_dustycampbell on Instagram.
He’s hoping Jacksonites will also come to downtown Jackson on Friday to send him off, and maybe blade along for a bit. Weather permitting, he's hoping to roll off at noon.