2,182 Miles for Johnny's New Van

Johnny Sottile has been my longest friend since I moved to beautiful Charleston, SC over 15 years ago. We bonded over strange things like getting in trouble in Middle School and conning Pokemon cards from younger kids at Books-A-Million on Saturdays.

Over the years, our lives have naturally drifted apart as we went to separate colleges and my time in the Marine Corps brought me all around the world.

This year is my 10 year anniversary in the Marine Corps and i've decided to try and accomplish something that can bring Johnny and I closer again.

My dog Shorty and I are going to thru-hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail this Spring in order to raise money to buy Johnny a new conversion vehicle.

If enough money is raised, we're hoping to purchase a vehicle that Johnny can drive himself and not rely on a separate driver.

As many of you know, the Sottile family has endured quite a few extreme challenges over the years. After Johnny's swimming accident placed him in a wheelchair, his mobility and independence has been extremely limited.

Many of you probably remember us driving all around Mt. Pleasant, SC. Me in the driver seat and us being inseparable. Starting freshman year, Johnny and I were in every single academic class all the way up to graduation. Except for JROTC, he wasn't much for uniforms or marching.  We were always at the Town Center or wasting money at Best Buy. A couple of times Johnny used to tow me down Hwy 17, me on my skateboard, just a small adventure to the movies.

The van he received shortly after his accident has been his lifeline. It's been over 10 years now and that vehicle is not only in need of serious maintenance but it's time for an upgrade. It's taken us to NASCAR races and roadtrips, and late night adventures on the town.

I've been lucky to have many experiences in my life and i've recently found myself with the opportunity to take some time off of work and go on a separate adventure. I'm aware that it's a selfish endeavor and i'm trying to take advantage of my freedom and independence by paying it forward to a dear friend of mine.

Apart from organizing this fundraising, I am pledging to donate $1 for every mile Shorty and I hike. The Appalachian Trail is officially 2,182 miles but I plan on counting every mile I walk, to and from the trail in to local towns. At the conclusion of my hike I will personally donate $3,000.00 or however many miles I hike. Whichever is larger.

Our goal is to raise at least $60,000.00 because after extensive research, conversion vehicles designed to allow Johnny to drive require significant customization and are more expensive than conventional vehicles.

I am putting the deadline for this fundraiser to be 100 days after I step off. My currently scheduled start date is No Later Than May 1st, 2015.

For all of you that grew up with Johnny and I, or maybe are just acquaintances, I ask you to donate whatever you  can contribute to help Shorty and I be successful in giving Johnny the freedom he deserves.

Stay tuned for updates from the trail and on our fundraising.

Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful),
Daniel P. Corcoran
Captain, United States Marine Corps


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Dan Corcoran 
Marietta, OH
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