BOX ELDER COUNTY, Utah — A U.S. Army veteran is walking across the country to raise funds to help other veterans battling PTSD.
Jake Sansing started his journey from Oregon to Maine back in April. The Tennessee man just made it to Utah this week.
FOX 13 News caught up with the vet in Perry, Utah, as he made his way from Mantua to Willard.
“It was always like, I don’t know, giving myself a mission, a purpose,” he said.
Sansing served two tours in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2011. When he returned to the United States, he was homeless and struggling with PTSD.
“When I first got out, I didn’t really want anything to do with people,” he said.
Walking to find work turned into walking from state to state.
“I didn’t really know what I was looking for, so I was doing it for different charities at the time,” said Sansing.
He wrote a book, Walking America: A 10,000 Mile Journey of Self-Healing, and is now raising money to create a non-profit campground to help other veterans struggling with mental health.
“I could always find a reason to keep walking but I could never find a reason to stop walking,” he said.
When it comes to food and shelter, it all depends on where he tires out or the friends he meets along the way. Veteran associations and random strangers have offered hotel rooms, free meals, and hospitality to make his journey easier.
He traveled from Idaho to Utah a few days ago and hopes to reach Salt Lake City by Sunday.
“[Utah’s] been almost overwhelming. The amount of kindness that I’ve gotten…a lot of people have stopped to give me a lot of things but I actually carry everything I need,” said Sansing.
He hopes to make it to Maine in May 2023.
“It’s helping other people see it’s not so bad out there,” he said. “There are a lot of good people out there.”
You can follow along with his journey on his Facebook page, Jake Walks America