Derek Redenius joined the National Guard when he was 17 and has since gone on three tours. When he returned, he began driving semis across the Midwest, and it was behind the wheel where he said he had an epiphany.
"I started walking because, being in the National Guard, I need to stay physically fit, and driving a semi-truck and sitting all day does not help with staying active," Redenius told Fox News. "I believe in God, and I prayed for guidance, and on October 1, 2020, I woke up, and I heard the Lord tell me ‘Let’s go for a walk.’"
That morning, Redenius put on his 25-pound military vest and started walking. As he walked, he waved to local farmers, and they waved back from their tractors. As his walk turned onto Kansas Highway 15, he continued to wave to passersby.
"It was refreshing to see people see me. It felt really good. When I got home, I wrote a little post on my Facebook thanking people for acknowledging and waving to me. I thought, I am going to do this again tomorrow."
The next morning, Derek Redenius started carrying a large American flag as a show of patriotism.
"I would share something positive on social media," he said. "One day, someone told me to post on TikTok. The first few videos didn’t do great, but one morning, my video got 20,000 views."
After his first viral video, Redenius began sharing more.
"People are enjoying my videos, and it’s helping me. In turn, the inspiration that we’re giving each other is creating positivity, which we need more of in this world."
Since he began in October 2021, he has gained over 61,000 Tik Tok followers.
"I didn’t share my personal views towards politics, I just tried to show inspiration, positivity, and appreciation to this country. I want to give my thanks to God, this country and show positivity."
As Redenius looks towards 2022, he shares his dream of creating a movement to help others.
"Twenty-two is a big number for service men and women because that’s the average number of suicides we have per day. I’ve made a plan to walk every day of 2022, to do something for veterans and for others."
As Derek looks towards the future of The Walking Patriot, he wants to, "help veterans less fortunate," however he is able.