War veterans are facing a new fight at home that can be more difficult than combat. They struggle for services as they transition back to civilian life.
Two wounded soldiers are raising awareness of the issue by walking hundreds of miles. On Tuesday, Todd Hamilton and Stuart McKenzie started walking from Kennewick and plan to finish in downtown Seattle by Sunday afternoon.
“We’re freezing cold and we’re eating MREs days on end, sleeping in people’s backyards,” said Todd Hamilton, an army veteran.
Hamilton and McKenzie are part of the non-profit organization “Shadow 6 Foundation,” designed to educate, train and heal the wounds of war inflicted on servicemen. They’re walking to raise awareness and money to build a facility in Ellensburg.
“On average there are 18 people killing themselves a day that are veterans,” said McKenzie, an army veteran.
People they pass by stop to give encouragement and in some cases money for their cause.
“They look like they’re hurting right now,” said Melanie Reed, who was driving by.
Reed pulled over to say thank you. It means a lot to the veterans, but they both say this isn’t about them.
“It’s about the other guys, not us. We’re just out here walking,” said Hamilton.
“It’s wrong, we need to support our veterans and make sure they have what they need when they come back,” said Reed.
Hamilton and McKenzie didn’t and don’t want others following their footsteps.
“I know what those men are feeling when they come home and no matter what, that powers me on,” said Hamilton.
So far, about $1000 has been raised by the walk. The organization needs a $125,000 to buy the land for the organization’s new building.
For information on how to donate, go to http://shadow6foundation.org