British army veteran Neil Davis is walking across the country to raise awareness about the help needed for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Davis arrived in the United States from Manchester, England, on July 29. He kicked off his journey on Aug. 1 from Cape Cod. So far, he has trekked through Massachusetts into Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. His goal is to reach Huntington Beach, California, by Veterans Day on Nov. 11.
The 49-year-old veterans advocate is raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project and UK-based veterans charity Combat Stress. He is accepting donations and chronicling his trek via Not Broken, Just Damaged, his Facebook page. Davis has served 24 years with the British army and worked alongside U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan for five years.
“We talk about ‘leaving no man behind,’ but our veterans ultimately get left behind after coming back home . . . I’m doing what I can to bring attention to just how bad the situation is among our veterans. There’s just not enough being done. I don’t expect the system to ever be perfect, but there’s lots of room for improvement,” Davis said.
Davis was inspired to embark on the 3,178-mile journey across 15 states after returning home from Afghanistan. He chose to do the walking tour in the United States rather than his home country because he thought the bigger population would help to gain more attention for the cause.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 10 to 18 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are likely to have PTSD. Claiming that veterans with PTSD do not receive the help they need, Davis said, “If my efforts can help keep just one veteran from ending up homeless or committing suicide, then it’s worth it.”