Private Joseph Hammond, 95, has become a familiar sight on the streets of Accra in Ghana, West Africa.
Every morning, for the past week, he has walked nearly two miles (three kilometers) to reach his target goal of 14 miles (23 kilometers).
Hammond, who is also a war veteran, embarked on the daily walks to raise money to support frontline workers and impoverished veterans across Africa.
He is following in the footsteps of the UK’s Col. Tom Moore, who was recently knighted for raising more than $40 million (£32.7 million) for the country’s National Health Service (NHS).
Both Hammond and Moore fought in Myanmar, then known as Burma in World War II.
Inspired by Moore’s efforts, Hammond says that he too decided to get walking to raise money for causes dear to his heart.
“He’s a veteran and I am a veteran. I sat quietly and thought over … his achievements and thought why not, if he has done it in Britain, at 95 years old, I can do it myself,” Hammond told CNN.
So far he has raised more than $20,000 but he hopes to raise more than half a million dollars.
“I feel this is a pure humanitarian work. I am doing it for humanity. I want to help them to assuage their suffering. I want everyone to contribute, little drops of water make a mighty ocean.”
An ambitious target
Now that he has completed 14 miles (23 kilometers), Hammond says he will embark on the next phase of his mission next week.
“I’m telling you, now I’ve clocked the 14 miles, next week when I conclude, it will be 30 miles, 95-year-old man walking 30 miles, it’s amazing,” he says.
Hammond says he is careful to take precautions against catching Covid-19 while walking.
“I obey all the instructions, I cover my mouth and I wash my hands. I don’t want to die. I want to reach 100 years and by the grace of the Lord, I will.”
Hammond, who joined the army when he was 18, credits his success to his Christian faith.
“I pray fervently every night before I embark on the walk … I know the Lord will help me because this is a good cause.”
Hammond visited the UK last year where he met members of the Royal family and the Queen during a celebration for Commonwealth soldiers.
“I represented the 54 Commonwealth nations,” he says as he proudly displays his medals on his woven traditional kente cloth.
But there was one member of the Royal family he took a particular shine to.
“This man especially, Prince Harry, I glued myself to him because he is also a soldier, he’s been to Afghanistan, and we spoke about the military, my battalion. We exchanged ideas. It was wonderful.”
Animated, with a youthful appearance that belies his 95 years, Hammond has a sharp memory that enables him to reel off facts about his time in the war, even down to his battalion leaders.
Hammond says he served in Burma as a mechanic in the army where he was attached to the 3rd Gold Coast regiment as an infantry man, fighting alongside the British army.
“We fought ferociously against the Japanese and we defeated them. … We experienced terrible, terrible things,” he says of his time in combat.
Even now, 70 years later, Hammond says he is haunted by the memories of war.
“Sometimes when I am in my sitting room, it comes before me, when we were crossing the river, fighting, it’s printed on my memory like a video film,” he says.
“Anybody that goes to war, everyone must have respect for that person. It is not child’s play.”