BOSTON (CBS) — Rain or shine, Paul Veneto is on his way to New York City, pushing an airline beverage cart in honor of the flight crews who died on 9/11, many of whom he knew personally.
“I went 18 miles yesterday and it didn’t bother me one bit. I got soaking wet and I didn’t care. Believe me, I’m ready,” said Paul Veneto. “That was my normal route, Flight 175. I used to fly Boston to LA all the time,” said Veneto.READ MORE: Wait Time Between Flu Shot And Booster? Dr. Mallika Marshall Answers COVID Vaccine Questions
The former United Airlines flight attendant had a scheduled day off on September 11th, 2001, and could only watch helplessly with the rest of the world in disbelief on that day twenty years ago.
“When those crew members knew they weren’t going to make it, they still kept doing their job. It’s mind-boggling to me,” said Veneto.
And for that, he wants to make sure they are remembered as heroes through “Paulie’s Push,” with images of the flight numbers displayed on his cart.
“We’re supposed to recognize those people. And it’s just the way it happened, they weren’t recognized. So now it’s happening today. And I’m so grateful for that,” said Veneto.
Paul’s been offered support by Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillivray, who walked alongside Paul when WBZ-TV caught up with him in Holliston Monday afternoon.
“I’ve been giving him a little bit of some tips from the road about how to get though a journey like this,” said McGillivray.READ MORE: Massachusetts Reports 4,095 New COVID Cases, 14 Additional Deaths Over 3 Days
And he’s gotten support from complete strangers like John Mahan of Holliston. He knew Paul would be nearby and made an effort to cheer him on along the way.
“I said it was a great thing for him to do and I made a donation and I hope everyone else does also,” said Mahan.
This is something Paul has thought about doing for five years, and he’s done his best to prepare for the long road ahead.
“Mentally I’m trained. Physically I’m trained. And people always ask about the tires- I got extra tires. I got another beverage cart. I studied. I did my homework,” said Veneto.
Paul left Logan Airport on Saturday and has his trip mapped out so if everything goes according to plan, 220 miles later he’ll reach Ground Zero by September 11th.
“They finally understand what I was thinking all those years. People understand. They know how important this is. It really is,” said Veneto.MORE NEWS: Dozens Of Massachusetts State Police Troopers Resigning Over COVID Vaccine Mandate, Union Says
For more on Paulie’s Push and to track where Paul is in real time, visit: https://www.pauliespush.com.