Former Marine walks for a cause, causes controversy
POSTED: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 5:12pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 2:46pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — A former marine is fighting back tonight after dealing with a lot of backlash.
Mac McQuowen wants to raise awareness for the homeless veterans in our country. So he decided to walk to every state capitol across the country to spread his message, but people are questioning his motives.
McQuown has spent more than two years living on the streets.
"Because I've been homeless myself, I need to live as much like them as I can," McQuown. "So when I'm able to and it's not against the city ordinance, I camp out outside."
He's trying to bring awareness to what he said is a huge problem in our country... homelessness.
"I come from a strong military family. I'm a veteran myself. I have many veteran friends, and that didn't sit very well with me," McQuown said. "So I wanted to do something to bring awareness back to veterans."
It's not his cause, but his record that's causing a lot of conflict. There's a Facebook page that claims McQuown is a fraud, a con-artist and a dishonorable veteran.
"In the beginning, I was defensive. I defended myself against every comment that came at me," McQuown responded.
McQuown does not shy away from the questions or his mistakes.
"In 1988, I was discharged from my second term in the Marine Corps, with an other than honorable discharge," McQuown said. "I made a mistake. Yes, I was stupid. It was idiotic. There's no excuse for it. That was 25 years ago. I've turned my life around since then."
Critics said he's not giving the money he gets from donations straight to the homeless.
"I can't solicit for funds. That's illegal," McQuown said. "However, if somebody walks up to me and says 'Mac, I saw your interview on Fox, I want to help give to the homeless, here's X amount of money.' Then, I didn't solicit for it. It goes to the homeless shelter."
But with all the criticism, he does have people who believe in him, like Sunny Somershine.
"The other gentleman that was here who was spouting off and saying, basically, that he was a fraud is irrelevant to me because look what it just did right now. It created a discussion," Somershine said. "If it helps one person, that's all I care about."
Even with all the backlash, McQuown's still trekking. His next stop is Austin, Texas.