Almost 40,000 Americans commit suicide each year. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that approximately 20% of these people are Veterans. On average 22 Veterans commit suicide every day. Countless others wrestle with contributing behavioral health issues. I am one of those. During my career, I hesitated to seek help because of the STIGMA and fears of career repercussions.
I have retired after 21 years of service in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps. It has been my distinct pleasure to serve this country as a decontamination specialist, a senior staff advisor, an instructor, and a recruiter. This service included one peacekeeping mission to Kosovo and two combat tours to Iraq. Through it all, I have been blessed to work alongside some of the most remarkable people.
I have decided to attempt walking across the continental United States during the summer of 2019. My goal is to raise awareness regarding the behavioral health issues affecting the veteran community. These issues include depression, anxiety, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries (TBI), homelessness, and Suicide.
In recognition of the 22 Veterans who commit suicide each day, I am planning my journey as follows.
Starting: 22 March 2019. Departing from Dupont, WA.
Culminating: 22 AUG 2019. Arriving at Walt Disney World Resort, FL.
I plan to average at least 22 miles per day for the scheduled 154 days of my journey.
This schedule means that I will be walking approximately 3,388 miles (The exact number of miles will depend on the availability of routes, wrong turns, and local searching for food/shelter/etc.)
This fundraiser is for my life-support. Funds will apply to the following types of expenses. Listed figures are estimates and will vary somewhat.
Shelter: Hotel / Campsite $100 per night.
Food: $30 Per Day
Gear Replacement: Shoes (7 Pairs), clothes, cold weather/wet weather, first aid, etc.
Personal Locator Beacon Subscription Service
Transportation: UBER/LYFT if walking routes are impassable (tunnels/bridges, etc.)
Emergency Evacuation: Personal or family emergency conditions require postponement of the journey.
An itemized expense report will be kept and published to my website at JLNOVAK.COM. Any funds not spent on life support will be redirected to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Check them out at https://afsp.org/
Thank you in advance for your love and support on this journey.