A retired Marine is putting in footwork to raise awareness about PTSD and other issues veterans face every day. This week, he’s made several stops throughout East Tennessee.
Retired Gunnery Sergeant Roy Brady is taking part in the Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge for the second time. His journey started March 5 in San Diego, California and will end sometime in September in Trenton, New Jersey.
Each city along the way has had a meeting stop. On Friday, it was at Bass Pro Shops in Sevierville. It’s here Brady had one more message added to his flag.
“I have to keep pushing forward,” he said.
During this adventure, Brady averages 20 miles a day and when pain kicks in, he remembers those who fought before him.
“I just try and keep myself from complaining,” Brady says. “I think about people in wars like World War II, [the] Korean War, these guys fought with different things, different terrain.”
Brady served our country for 22 years and there’s a different pain he thinks about while walking.
“My own brother, Armed Forces, he committed suicide. A good friend of mine that I trained committed suicide,” added Brady.
It’s that kind of invisible wound he’s walking to raise awareness for.
“Nobody wants to admit they have a problem but they might knowing somebody who knows what they’re going through,” Brady said
As cars pass by, Brady says he hopes they understand that his mission is to help those with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, suicide and many other issues.
“We need to talk to each other, see what makes each other click, stay in contact because there are other options besides that. We just need to reignite each other as far as veterans to keep each other alive,” said Brady.
With hundreds of miles left to go, this Marine says he’s walking to support all families touched by suicide, PTSD and those who may still be struggling.
“At the very end it’s going to be a great feeling,” Brady said “It already is a great feeling as far as I’ve come and it’s just a reward for me.”
Where to next? Brady saying he’s off to Cherokee, N.C. Along his journey, he’ll be stopping at his brother, Army Staff Sergeant Major Brady’s grave site, as well as his friend, Marine veteran Tommy Simpson’s grave site.
If you’d like to donate to Brady’s walk with Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge, you can text MAJORWALK to 41444. Updates are posted regularly on his Facebook page. Throughout his walk, people from every community have given bottles of water, sandwiches and hugs.