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PHOENIX -- Cottonwood resident Al Slussman is no stranger to long walks.

Slussman is a 75-year-old Navy veteran who has dedicated treks covering the length and width of the United States and Arizona to senior citizens, disabled Americans and U.S. troops and veterans, as well as Arizona food banks.

Next Monday, Slussman will begin a 75-mile, six-day stroll through the Verde Valley. He's walking for the American Red Cross, an organization that helped his family nearly 40 years ago.

"Back in 1974, we experienced a house fire in Flagstaff...our house burned to the ground," Slussman said. "We lost everything. We had no place to go. The Red Cross was there for us. They sent us to a motel and took care of us until our insurance took over."

Slussman is hoping to raise at least $7,500 for victims of disasters. He said he'll sleep in several fire stations along the way. He also encouraged people to join him and asked that any donations be made out to the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter's disaster relief fund.

Donations may be made online at

Jeremy Foster, News Editor

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