Traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder are major problems faced by millions of veterans every day. While there is a lot of work being done to help address those issues on an ongoing basis, the fact remains that these issues being faced by former servicemembers perhaps does not receive as much attention as they deserve given the gravity of the situation. Fortunately, though, a lot of people are raising awareness of TBIs and PTSD, including many veterans.
Former Army Delta Force officer Josh Collins recently began an attempt at a Guinness World Record in Texas, according to a report from Panama City, Florida, television station WEAU. Back in March, Collins began his attempt to complete the longest trip ever on a stand-up paddleboard, calling it the Veteran Voyage 360. The 360 in this case refers to the fact that he's planning to take the paddleboard around the world, going more than 24,000 nautical miles with a goal of raising $22 million over the 18-month journey. If successful, it would be the first time someone has ever circumnavigated the globe on a stand-up paddleboard.
A huge effort
The first leg of his trip is to go around the edge of the Gulf of Mexico before passing the tip of Florida and heading up the East Coast, the report said. He has, of course, scheduled stops at various locations along the way – which he calls "rally points" – to raise awareness and hopefully some money for the very serious problems of PTSD and brain injuries. His goal is to reach Key Largo, Florida, by the beginning of May and Charleston, South Carolina, in early June.
"The response from folks along the way has been absolutely amazing," Collins told the station. "From Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, folks have let me know that they're supporting. That was fun, but the response has been absolutely great. There's quite a few veterans that have come out and they've let me know that this means a lot and how much it means to them and they're willing to support. It's a tearjerker sometimes when you meet some of those guys along the way that say this means so much to them."
A serious issue
These kinds of efforts can be incredibly impactful, especially where the fundraising is concerned. Often, what veterans dealing with PTSD and brain injuries need is careful attention or medical services that they might not seek on their own, or connections with those in their community so that they feel safe and welcome. The greater the work being put in when it comes to providing this type of support – and others – the better off veterans and their communities will be in the long run. For that reason, whether it's individuals, businesses, or government agencies, more can be done to support millions of veterans who deal with these problems.