Vietnam veteran walking cross country makes stop in Eastern Kentucky

SALYERSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - A Montana man is on a journey, walking cross country from Washington state to Washington, D.C. and on Monday, he made a stop in Eastern Kentucky.

Each step with a purpose, "Trying to bring awareness for the high suicide rate of our young warriors," explains Vietnam War veteran Marine Sgt. Chuck Lewis. He began this journey more than four months ago in Everett, Washington.

Lewis says, "It began with the fact that we had a Marine that separated 3 June, came home 4 June and we buried him on 30 June, he had taken his own life...left behind a wife and 1-year-old daughter."

With each step Sgt. Lewis takes along his journey he says he is thinking of all the fallen soldiers, but he has a very unique description of who exactly a fallen soldier is.

Jeremy Holbrook explains, "When he uses the word fallen he doesn't mean the ones that didn't come back, he means all of us."

The issues Sgt. Lewis brings awareness to are ones that Holbrook, an Iraq War veteran, lives with every day.

"They see a couple scars but that's it, they don't see the inside of me....just because we aren't missing an arm or a leg, doesn't mean a veteran does not have a disability," says Holbrook.

Holbrook suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after losing his best friend while in Iraq.

Sgt. Lewis says, "When they see one of their buddies die...there is no reset button to that. It happens and it is forever."

That is why with each step, there is a purpose.

"I can't go to an Iraqi War or Afghanistan veteran and say I know what you've been through...because I don't," says Lewis.

What he can do is walk to raise awareness and support for all fallen soldiers.

Lewis' final stop on his walk is the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

By the time he arrives there he hopes to have raised at least $50,000 to support programs that help soldiers dealing with PTSD.

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