Woman carrying inflatable soldier from Florida to Washington

61-year-old makes stop in Melbourne during 1,300-mile mission

MELBOURNE, Fla. - For 61-year-old Donna Street, walking from Fort Lauderdale to Washington is a tough trek she's willing to take.

She and her nephew, 26-year-old Josh Hart, are carrying the "Proud Protector" on their backs as they walk the roughly 1,300-mile trip. According to Local 6 News partner Florida Today, the protector is an inflatable soldier with PVC pipe and fatigues meant to honor soldiers.

Street dreamed of this idea 10 years ago, but the actual planning started in November. Constructing the soldier took about three years.

"I'll feel like I'm 75 by the time I get out of Florida," the Virginia woman said by phone. "We drove down here because it was a warm place to start our journey."

As of Sunday, Street's journey has brought her to Melbourne. The pair expects to arrive in Washington by Memorial Day weekend.

"We're walking right at 30 miles a day, sometimes 28," she said.

Some of the challenges?

"It is really tough out here. The walk with the sweat and the getting dirty," she said. "It's just extremely hard on your body. Mentally, physically and everything. I guess it's a little more physical than I thought it was going to be."

At one point, she had to cross over U.S. 1 where there was a big dip. Even though she fell on her face, she said "it's been a wonderful journey."

Hart is tracking their progress and providing updates via their YouTube channel: The Proud Protector.

"About a million people have been asking me if we're on Twitter, so I finally joined," he said.

The pair is walking from 7 a.m. till dark.

"The sun is what stops us."

To track the Proud Protector's progress, follow @proudprotector on Twitter, call 423-480-0482 or visit theproudprotector.com.

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