[Nameplate] Mostly Cloudy ~ 66°F  
High: 67°F ~ Low: 50°F
Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Mule-bound to Oklahoma: Michigan man hoping to draw awareness to the contributions of military veterans

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Charlie Peters is a man of leisure, who doesn't get in a hurry to go anywhere.
(By Nick Schneider)
Charlie Peters, a Michigan resident, is making a slow trip to Oklahoma in a wagon pulled by a pair of mules to raise awareness for U.S. military veterans. Here, he is traveling south on State Road 67 between Worthington and Switz City on Thursday morning.
(By Nick Schneider)
You might say Charlie Peters is a man of leisure, who doesn't get in a hurry to go anywhere.

Charlie was slowly making his way south on State Road 67 between Worthington and Switz City on Thursday morning guiding a homemade wagon pulled by two mules.

The Owosso, Mich., resident doesn't let the steady stream traffic on the highway bother him. He smiles and waves as the vehicles pass by.

He's content driving his team of aged mules -- named after his granddaughters Maddie and Saddie -- holding steady to the reigns and enjoying the solitude.

Maddie -- the mule -- is 13 and Cassidy is 16.

Looking back at the mini cabin that's mounted on his wagon, Charlie grins and says he has everything in it that's needed for the trip, except bathroom facilities.

He's also pulling a hand-crafted trailer that has an U.S. Marine flag mounted to it and insignias of all branches of the military mounted on the back of the trailer.

Charlie Peters and his team of mules.
(Photo by Nick Schneider)
Charlie, a retired machinist at a General Motors production plant, is on a mission of awareness for U.S. military veterans. He's also on a 1,100-mile journey to Oklahoma to visit his father's grave for the first time.

Charlie is a proud 68-year-old U.S. Navy veteran who served in Vietnam. He's got a long, snow-white colored beard and sparkling blue eyes.

He explained the idea for his adventure started about three years ago when he walked into an antique shop to buy an U.S. Navy commemorative dinner plate. The young man working in the store inquired if Charlie was a military veteran.

"I said, 'Yes I was,' and he said did you go to Vietnam and I said, 'Yes I did'. He handed me the plate and shook my hand and said 'Thank you for your service'," Charlie recalled. "I told him, 'You are the first person in 45 years to tell me that'. I felt so good about it, I told my wife I am going to do something for veterans. So, this (trip) is what I came up with.

"I bought two mules and I built the wagon and built the trailer and decided to thank every vet I could come across. So far, I've went about 400 miles and I've talked to a lot of them."

Charlie said being retired he's got plenty of time to spare.

"My wife asked where I was going, 'I said maybe California'. She said 'Why don't you go see your Dad'. I've never been to my Dad's gravesite in Oklahoma, so that is where I'm headed," Charlie said with a big smile.

The grave is located in Okemah, Okla., located east of Oklahoma City and about 50 miles from Moore, where the recent deadly tornado struck.

It's a slow trip that averages only about 20 miles a day -- many days it's less than that because Charlie admits he likes to talk to people.

"I usually try to make 20 miles. Some days I do and some days I don't. It just depends. I can make more if we don't have a lot of hills," Charlie said in pointing out that Wednesday night he and his two mule buddies bedded down behind the Worthington Country Mark grocery store.

"I like to stay at fairgrounds or parks or people stop and ask me if I want to stay at their place. It hasn't been a problem. I stayed one night on the side of the road," he said. "The people have been fantastic. I knew they would be nice, but I had no idea they would be this nice to me ... a lot of people like for me to stop so they can take pictures."

Charlie said he departed from his home May 1 and expects the trip will take at least three months.

"The trip hasn't cost me anything. I do buy a few meals, but I've got everything I need," Charlie noted. "People do make donations, but that is not what this is about. If we get down the road and find somebody that needs it (the money) more than us, we give it to them. We want to do what we can to make every day better."

The idea of going on a mule trip has been somewhat of a fantasy for Charlie since he was a kid.

The back of Charlie Peters' homemade wagon tell his message clearly, "Two Mules and a Vet, Oklahoma Bound". The wagon will serve as his home away from home during his 1,100 mile three month journey.
(By Nick Schneider)
"When I was young I grew up in the south and they had a lot of mules. A year ago on May 5, I bought these mules. I had never owned a mule or a horse. Never drove one or anything. It's just something I had to start from scratch and learn how to do. I've still got an awful lot to learn, but I made it this far," he said with a boyish giggle.

Interestingly, Charlie said one of his mules, Cassie, is nearly blind. He's planning to route his trip to the farm he purchased the pair of mules from last year and see if some kind of a mule trade can be arranged.

"One of them (the mule) is almost blind and I'm going stop and see if I can't get one that can see."

So with a big wave, Charlie pulled on the reigns of his mules and drove off heading south on State Road 67 bound for Oklahoma.

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on gcdailyworld.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

I saw this yesterday but had no idea what it was for or about! Pretty neat!

-- Posted by greenecountymom on Thu, May 30, 2013, at 4:29 PM

Nice story!!! I saw them a little bit ago and they are staying the night in the Sandborn area. What a way to see the country! Good Luck and Safe Travels!

Cleta Shake

-- Posted by shakefarms on Thu, May 30, 2013, at 6:29 PM

I would like to trade him places!

-- Posted by Barb and Hay Wire on Fri, May 31, 2013, at 8:08 AM

Semper Fi...

-- Posted by georgipow on Fri, May 31, 2013, at 2:18 PM

Totally awesome. Be safe. My husband, since passed due to agent orange from the Vietnam war, would wear his military cap I had made for him and many people would shake his hand and thank him. It never ceased to amaze me that people really appreciate this. AMERICA: HOME OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE!

-- Posted by over63 on Fri, May 31, 2013, at 2:33 PM

Great story!

-- Posted by jkwalker on Sat, Jun 1, 2013, at 10:20 AM

Thanks for the great story about my dad. Just a few corrections, if I may. His last name is Peters. He is a retired Navy veteran and the mules were named after his grand daughters Maddie and Cassidy. Thanks again for the story and pictures.

-- Posted by carolp on Thu, Jun 6, 2013, at 2:08 PM

I live 20 miles north of Paducah Kentucky in a very small town called Burna on US Highway 60. I saw Mr. Peters and his Mules go by here about 11 AM Wed. June 12th. This is kind of rural area so it was not really out of the ordinary to see something like this but it did stand out a little. A friend of mine posted this link on Facebook today or I would have had no idea what was going on.

-- Posted by sledgehammer246 on Fri, Jun 14, 2013, at 4:53 PM

Great story! He was involved in an accident at 6:00p.m. tonight in front of my apartment complex. A truck hit him and he went off the road and the mules got trapped under the vehicle that hit him. They had to put the mules down. He was air-lifted to a hospital. It was a great story but a very sad ending.

-- Posted by Psanders on Wed, Jul 24, 2013, at 11:13 PM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: