Hudson Valley Man Begins His Long Walk Across United States
Tom Zurhellen is a veteran who wants to raise awareness for the issues affecting other veterans across the country. So he's decided to walk from Portland, Oregan to Poughkeepsie this summer. The trek is expected to last until August and take him through small towns and big cities along the way.
On Monday we spoke to Zurhellen in Portland as he was preparing for his first day. Walking with a friend, the duo hiked 22 miles before stopping for the night. With one day of travel under his belt, there's now only 2,866 miles to go. On Tuesday Zurhellen is planning on hoofing it alone as he sets off for Rhododendron, Oregon.
As the commander at VFW Post 170 in Poughkeepsie, Zurhellen has seen first hand the struggles that many veterans face. Raising awareness for these issues is his main goal, but he also hopes to bring in donations to help out Dutchess County's only homeless shelter operated by Hudson River Housing.
Suicide rates and homelessness are on the rise for veterans, so Zurhellen feels that now is the perfect time to get the word out. He's created a group called Vet Zero that does outreach to veterans and works towards the goal of zero suicides and zero homelessness for veterans in Poughkeepsie. During each day of his journey, Zurhellen plans to walk 22 miles, representing the 22 veterans that take their own life every day in America.
If you'd like to follow the journey and learn more about Vet Zero, you can connect with Tom on his Facebook page.
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