Warrior Expeditions Help Returning Veterans Heal And Have Fun
"I was a really angry person."; "Finding a way to be sensitive again was a really big struggle."; "I think we became loners. It was shocking not being welcomed back."; "Coming home was really a rough transition. It's really difficult to make that mental switch."
These are the voices of veterans of Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and other foreign wars who share a common pain and stress when returning to life at home after their deployment. Warrior Hike founder Sean Gobin experienced these feelings as well on his return, but discovered a way to decompress and find balance and calm in his life again. Recognizing the therapeutic effects of long distance hiking, Sean created the "Walk Off The War" Program which is designed to support veterans transitioning from their military service by thru-hiking America's National Scenic Trails.
After completing three tours of duty with the Marines, Sean chose to begin his re-entry to civilian life by fulfilling a dream of hiking all 2,185 miles of the Appalachian Trail. "When I finished my hike, The Appalachian Trail Conservancy reached out to me because they were interested in putting together a veterans outreach program. I worked with them to build Warrior Hike and that was the impetus for the start of the program."
Historically, military units would experience a lengthy journey home after fighting a campaign abroad. During this journey home, warriors would process and come to terms with their wartime experiences. But in today's age of modern transportation, military personnel can find themselves home within a few days of serving in a combat zone. Since 2001, over 2.5 million veterans have returned home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but many of them have never transitioned from their experiences. This is evident by the recent report from the Department of Veteran Affairs, which states that over 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Exercise and connection are two ways Warrior Hike helps veterans address this condition. The organization coordinates trail town support with the numerous veteran organizations and local communities that are located along the National Scenic Trails. This support includes transportation, food, and lodging in addition to providing the opportunity to socialize with veterans from past wars and local community groups.
Warrior Hike also assists veterans with future employment opportunities offered by supporters of the "Walk Off The War" Program and by partnering with veteran job placement companies and hiring services.
Watch and learn how Sean's long walk in the woods is blazing a trail of healing for many of his fellow combat veterans.
Learn more at: http://warriorhike.org
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