US Marine Sgt. Larry Hinkle has been there. He knows what it’s like to be a veteran in the dark. Here he opens up about the importance of supporting a movement like this.
It’s inspiring and motivating that people are supporting what we’re doing. Without the support, none of this happens. Well this happens right here, but none of what we’re walking for happens. The helping veterans part. That’s the backbone of what we do and why we’re doing this in the first place.
And personally, I’ve been there. I knew that stuff like this [Walking With The Wounded] existed, but I thought that you had to be severely disabled to benefit from a non-profit. So seeing stuff like this makes you realise even more that this is why organizations like Walking With The Wounded exist. To get people like me out of those dark areas and into the light, and around the people who understand you the most. Who understand what you’re going through,what you’ve been through.
You know, it’s almost like being back in the military – being part of the Walk Of America team. Of course we’re not being shot at or anything – hopefully! – but it’s that same mentality. It’s the ‘I’ve got your back, you’ve got mine’. And that goes without question.
Overall, the walk has been healing and therapeutic – enormously so. Each week is different. There are different obstacles, there are different rewards. We get to see the best part of this country, on foot, you know? With people that you love and care about. It’s hard to put words on. It’s hard to put one word on an explanation.
As far as challenges go, I would say my feet in the rain week… That was the toughest point for me, both physically and mentally. That was my low point. Other than that, everything else…all the aches and pains, you get used to it. You suck it up. But getting to experience this with people I consider my family, is what makes this so rewarding.
And to other veterans out there who are suffering, who haven’t yet got help or who don’t know where to go – don’t give up. Know that there are other people like you – I’m one of them – and that we’re out there fighting for you. Use it, use us, use the non-profits, use your local VAs. Get around people who understand where you’ve been. That’s the best healing that can take place.
Don’t give up.
Find out more about Walking With The Wounded’s latest expedition, the Walk Of America, here.