Former Marine goes cross country to raise awareness - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Former Marine goes cross country to raise awareness

Amarillo, TX - Justin Kuhel started his long distance trip on May 23rd. He started at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and plans to make it to Camp Pendleton in California.

He walks about 23 miles a day. A friend or family member will drive a March Across America van ahead of him with food and water. After his 23 mile day, they will find a place to rest for the night ."Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas...it's all pretty new to me, but it's been great," said Kuhel. But his walk across America plan is more that just the walk itself. The 26-year-old native from Columbus, Ohio says his main focus is to raise awareness and money for two charities. "One deals primarily with free no hassle mental health care for veterans called The Headstrong Project," said Kuhel.

The other one is called Helping Our Military Families. They build modified vans and wheelchairs accessible for veterans who were severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although these are smaller organizations, Kuhel believes what they are doing is important and 90% of their money goes directly to their programs for veterans.

"Mental health care is a huge issue with veterans and it's gets overlooked sometimes," said Kuhel.

Kuhel isn't in this alone. Fundraising and support from his friends and family has made this trip possible. "They're the true heroes," said Kuhel.

And as he walks from one state to another, he will occasionally heave people join him.Caleb McCormick decided to walk with Justin for one day this weekend and says he appreciates what Justin is doing. "Anything that anybody can ever do to help veterans that are coming back is a good cause," said McCormick.

While Justin is in Amarillo, he plans to take two days for himself. "I need to rest up and recharge my batteries," said Kuhel.

After his rest, Justin will continue to walk through Amarillo on Tuesday. If everything goes as planned, he will finish his trip October 10th.
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