No, it wasn’t Steve Rogers you saw walking down state Route 410 with a P.O.W. flag these past couple of weeks.
It was Allen Mullins, whose superpowers are less of the crime-fighting type, and more helping those in need.
Mullins started his ongoing trek as a superhero back in 2009.
“I was a framer. I was a framer for 10 years. A lot of the people I worked with were Vietnam vets… and I couldn’t understand – when I was growing up, I was always told when you see a military person or veteran, thank them, because they’re heroes,” he said in a recent interview. “But I couldn’t figure out why so many of them were homeless. It was [opposite] to what I was told. It doesn’t make any sense.”
According to Veteran Affairs, more than 37,000 veterans were homeless in 2019.
“People care more about [celebrities] than their own veterans. Their own fire department. Their own stuff they should care more about,” Mullins continued. “It’s like the entertainment business has taken their mind over, made it to the point where this is more important than real stuff. And after learning that, I wanted to do something.”
And do something he did – Mullins, originally from Georgia, took his house and his land and gave it all to a charity to sell at auction and hit the road.
“I’m walking across this country, trying to help people in this country. Veterans, firemen, anything. It can be anybody,” he said. “If your mom needed a wheelchair or something, y’all been having trouble, y’all just get a hold of me, we’ll talk, and I guarantee within two days we’ll have your wheelchair.”
His first walk was 5,000 miles across the continental U.S.
In 2010, the northeast Texas paper, The Gilmer Mirror, reported that Mullins was halfway to completing his goal to visit all 48 continental state capitols.
In 2012, the Wonida Watchman of Sully County, South Dakota, reported Mullins was going to spend six years walking the border of each state.
By 2016, the Neosho Daily News in Missouri said Mullins had, by that point, visited each capitol twice.
All in all, Mullins figures he’s walked enough miles to have spanned the globe twice.
Currently, he is walking the 2,668 miles from Maple Valley to Harrisonburg, VA, which brought him into Enumclaw as he tried to walk down state Route 410 into Yakima.
However, the recent fire near Greenwater has kept the highway closed, stranding Mullins on the Plateau for about a week while he waited for the highway to open. During that time, Mullins slept just off the highway, outside city limits.
He’s since departed, having been gifted a hotel room on Oct. 3 so he could wash up and clean his costume before taking a Greyhound to Yakima.
Unfortunately, not everyone in Enumclaw was happy to see the First Avenger walking local streets.
“First night I got into town, a couple bought me a burger. And then, on the way down here, I got egged,” Mullins said. “My jeans just have eggs all over. You can find the carton right up over there.
“That happens all the time. Right here,” he said, showing off a scar on his forehead, “in 2010, I was in Oregon or Washington, I was Superman, and all I remember is waking up in the hospital three days later. They told me a passerby saw me off in a ditch, laying there. They pulled out a piece of beer bottle out of my head, lodged in my skull. They said, ‘you had second degree burns and was dehydrated,’ said ‘you had to be in that ditch for a day.’ That was in the dead of summer.”
Law enforcement, too, can be a hassle for Mullins.
“I’ve been arrested over 60 times,” he said, or simply chased out of town by cops that don’t allow him to sit and rest. “In Boise, Idaho, I was up for four days… the police department, the sheriff’s department, and a state trooper actually followed me, stalked me, make sure I wasn’t asleep. Said, ‘there’s an ordinance. You can’t sleep within the city limits.’”
He mentioned that the Enumclaw Police Department was very kind to him.
All in all, the good clearly outweighs the bad in Mullins’ mind, which is why he’s going to keep walking for anyone who needs him.
“Along the way, before I reach Virginia, I guarantee you, there’s going to be a little fire station somewhere that’s going to need something, that’s having trouble getting it,” he said. “I’ll be like, ‘Get you a GoFundMe up, and give a way for people to donate to you, because the money won’t go through my hands…’ That’s going to happen, I know it will.”
For more information on Mullins, you can Google search “Allen Mullins Captain America” or check out his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/192311907878387/.