Chester, and the western Morris area as a whole, is nothing but a speck when considering the size and scope of America’s landscape.
But it was recently visited – albeit briefly – by Mario Landeros.
Landeros is on a mission to help children, and he’s doing it by walking across the United States.
According to his sparsely updated blog, Landeros resides in Los Angeles, California, and began volunteering with Starlight Children’s Foundation about four years ago and in November 2011 began considering the idea to walk across the country to raise money.
Landeros was spotted walking up Rt. 206 in Chester toward the Quick Chek on Saturday on his way to Maine, where the walk would end.
Andrew Sheldon of Long Valley, was on his way home from working in Chester when he spotted Landeros pushing a cart that said “Walking Across America to Raise Money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.”
Sheldon offered to buy him lunch, he said, and ended up speaking with Landeros for an hour.
“As expected, he was an extremely nice guy,” Sheldon told Patch in an email.
Sheldon said Landeros was so focused on his mission, he said, that he had just recently learned about such major global news as the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks.
After they departed, Landeros headed to Morristown for the night and would head toward Jersey City thereafter.
According to his blog, Landeros has raised just $6,798 in Operation Cheer, the name he’s given his mission. He departed Los Angeles in May 2012 with the goal of reaching $1 million.
Operation Cheer’s Facebook page is active and updated often, and Landeros gave a shout out to the Garden State late Monday night, saying:
“New Jersey people have been pretty cool to the dude walking across America for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. So many people have been honking and waving or cheering out the window - in come cases the sunroof. A few bought me a meal and today a police officer stopped and said, "I just had to ask you about your walk." Thank you New Jersey, you rock!"
Did you see Mario Landeros walking through the area over the weekend?