SNOW HILL, N.C. (WNCT) – Residents in Snow Hill had the chance to welcome military veterans to the town on Tuesday.
The veterans are walking 350 miles from Camp Lejeune to Washington D.C.
Brandon Powell, Brice Young, and Michael Birdsong are veterans from Virginia on The Wounded Walk.
The walk is a mission they hope will raise awareness for veterans suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Sargent Brandon Powell is a veteran of the marines.
“It’s something much bigger, it’s a bigger epidemic out here,” said Powell.
On average 22 veterans a day commit suicide; many due to PTSD.
Powell said, “There’s a lot of veterans that need some help and I hope we can come together as a nation to help support these veterans coming out of service.”
When speaking about adjusting to civilian life Powell “In that fear that you have, it’s a constant fear, you don’t have a time you can actually take a load off and take a break.”
For Powell his new mission hits close to home.
Powell said, “I mean I think we all kind of saw there was something there but my brother was a really tough guy. He was my hero.”
Last year, his brother committed suicide after returning home from war.
“We tried and tried and tried to get him to go to the V.A. but he said there are people with no arms and no legs and people who’ve really gotten hurt,” Powell added. “He felt he couldn’t go to the V.A. that there were other people that needed it more than him.”
Powell is not alone in his walk.
Brice Young is a hometown friend and retired Marine.
Young said, “It is and epidemic going on out there and something needs to be done, I think the government should get involved.”
Michael Birdsong is an Army veteran and is the third member of the team.
Birdsong said, “I thought it was going to be myself, Brandon and Brice just going for a walk and being able to clear my head and find myself along the way but it’s turned into much more than that.”
Michael Birdsong has suffered with PTSD.
He said this walk is putting him back on track.
“So to find something like this organization who is reaching out to veterans who are going through what I’m going through or will go through what I’m going through is something I want to put my all into and give back,” said Birdsong.
Their walk is set to end on May 7th at the burial site of Powell’s brothers in Arlington National Cemetery.
That day marks the anniversary of his death.
If you would like to donate to support their cause click here.