Veterans Hike 100 miles From Maine to Massachusetts For A Good Cause
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Veterans Hike 100 Miles From Maine To Massachusetts For A Good Cause

A group of veterans just completed what many would find a grueling marathon with a smile on their faces. The veterans hiked more than 100 miles from Maine to Massachusetts to raise awareness about PTSD.

Each of the 11 veterans have experienced PTSD in one form or another. In honor of PTSD Awareness Month, they ended up walking more than 100 miles over a five day period. The hike started on June 10 in Kittery, Maine and finished in Foxborough, Massachusetts on June 15. PTSD is common among military members with 7 out of 100 veterans developing the disorder.

Speaking with Fox News, veteran John Shafer opened up about the hike and raising money for the Semper Fi & America's Fund. The organization supports wounded military members and veterans.

"I think we've been well received among the community — all honking in support," he said. However, he noted a few pains from all the walking. It's the second year in a row that Shafer has volunteered for the hike. Shafer did three deployments across nine years in the Marines. He has PTSD after getting brain injuries during combat.

"Last year ... I came in kind of unprepared, but the impact it had on my life, the people that I met, the physical and mental aspects and how it changed my life was something I was like, 'I have to do this again,'" he said. This year Shafer said he better prepared himself for the intensity of the walk. "I did last year's hike in Kansas, so I got to return this year kind of like a mentor."

Veterans Rally Together

One of the things that the veteran appreciates about the hike is the camaraderie. He said he stayed in the back of the pack to make sure there were no "stragglers." "We're all here for one commonality, and it's affected us in various ways, so the unspoken bond and brotherhood is there," he said.

It's a different friendship," he added, "when you meet somebody who has endured a similar path of life like we have." Last year, the veteran completed 105 miles from Kansas to Missouri. The heat ended up being an issue.

"We got lucky with this hike — it was a beautiful day," he said.