A U.S. Navy veteran is bringing awareness of the mental health for military veterans by walking from Sanford, N.C. to Austin, T.X.
The U.S. Navy veteran, Jason Rhodes, owns a nonprofit organization that helps disabled veterans.
“What we’ve been doing for the past three years, is we’ve been doing renovations repairs retrofits and remodels for disabled veterans,” he said.
Rhodes says his goal is to not only raise awareness of the challenges veterans face, but to also raise money to fund more projects for veterans.
“The number one reason would be mental health awareness, for the military, law enforcement, and first responders’ communities. I believe there’s a little bit of a gap between those communities when it comes to mental health support,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes says unfortunately mental health is not the only problem that can arise in veterans after service.
“There’s been a couple guys that I’ve known that have alcohol, drug-related instances. When we hear the number 22 a day, we hear about the number that actively take their own life, but we don’t hear about the numbers that are leaving this earth due to other issues,” Rhodes said.
On Rhode’s journey he has slept in churches, fire departments, and in the woods. He says he has met people along the way who more than willing to help, giving him food and a place to sleep.
When he arrived in Knoxville, he met Stone Bennett who already heard about Rhodes journey at work.
“She told me about his story and what he was about, and how he came to be, and I was just very interested with him being a veteran himself from the Navy and I’m also prior Navy,” Bennet said. “I was really invested in his story and I wanted to try to help him as much as I could.”
Bennett paid for a hotel room for Rhodes to stay for the night. Rhodes has completed about 350 miles as of arriving in Knoxville and doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon!