Captain America spends a lot of time fighting villains like the Red Skull and keeping our country safe as part of The Avengers, but the superhero has also taken time out of his busy schedule to combat another heinous foe: the homeless problem facing U.S. veterans. Don't look for Steve Rogers behind the winged cowl, though. Meet Allen Mullins, a 28-year-old former contractor who is traveling across the U.S. on foot with a pup named Justice... and a message.
Mullins -- who only carries with him a backpack, sleeping bag, American flag, clothing, press clippings and a Bible -- is making a pilgrimage to every U.S. capital city to bring attention to the difficulties our country's war veterans are facing. He recently told Austin360 that he walked 5,000 miles in 2009, and since January last year, he's visited 27 capital cities. He plans on doing this for the next 10 years.
Even though he's not a veteran, Mullins has cared deeply about this cause ever since he started noticing the growing number of homeless vets. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) reported that in 2009 there were 107,000 homeless on any given night across America. The V.A. also states that "over the course of a year, approximately twice that many experience homelessness." Mullins won't have any of that, so he donned the First Avenger's costume to draw attention to the ongoing problem. "I want people to show respect for the uniform, show a little bit of gratitude," he told the Austin website.
Mullins decided that he needed a uniform of his own and chose a superhero get-up because, as he told the Free Times last year, "Everybody likes some kind of superhero." He went through several costumes before getting it right. Last year he wandered the roads as Superman, but this year's skin-tight ensemble of red, white and blue is a bound to be a real eye-catcher. The Captain's fuel is supported by the proceeds of wooden toys he sells. Other than that, Mullins doesn't need to panhandle, hold nonprofit status, or ask for donations to convince us he's king of the road, fighting the good fight.
Hopefully Cap finishes his journey in time to attend the release of 'Captain America: The First Avenger' (someone convince this guy to attend an opening event somewhere) and get to work on Joss Whedon's 'The Avengers' later this year. Here's hoping his shoes are as indestructible as his shield.