NEW MARKET, Tenn. (WATE) — Jeremy Pelham is a retired marine from New Market, Tenn., and is participating in the 48 Mile Ruck March Challenge.

The goal of the challenge is to walk 48 miles during the month of March while wearing a military rucksack. The challenge aims to raise awareness about veterans’ mental health and money for the nonprofit Mission 22.

“Mission 22 focuses on providing programs and treatments that are free of charge for veterans that might be struggling with that, and they also do memorials, memorial services and monuments, and they also advocate for veterans in the civilian community,” Pelham said.

Though the goal of the challenge is to walk 48 miles during the month of March, Pelham has far exceeded that.

“I was like ‘I think I can do that, and raise some money,’ turns out I walked much more than 48 miles, I’m probably going to break 100 miles in the next couple days,” he said.

Pelham carries his 35-pound rucksack while he walks around the New Market area. Mission 22 brings awareness to the statistic of 22 veterans committing suicide per day.

“I was a career marine, I did 20 years in the Marine Corps, so I served with hundreds and thousands of men and women. So, I have first-hand experience of losing people that we served with,” he said.

In addition to raising awareness, Pelham has also raised more than $8,000 for Mission 22 through Facebook.

“The community is also one of the strongest, most driven, populations that we have for school, the workforce and just to be community members, some of the finest men and women the country has to offer, and they deserve as many resources as they can get,” he said.

To finish off the challenge, The Mad Ox House in Jefferson City is holding a pint night on March 31st, where they will donate some of the proceeds to Jeremy’s fundraiser.