HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - An Iraq war veteran is hiking 7000 miles across the country to help military families in need.
Thursday afternoon Troy Yocum arrived at Camp Shelby where he was escorted by a member of the Patriot Guard and several soldiers from the camp to the Armed Forces Museum to tell his story.
Yocum began his anticipated 16 month journey April 17 2010 in his home state of Kentucky. He traveled west to California then back through Texas and Louisiana before arriving at Camp Shelby.
He says the inspiration for his journey came from when a good friend and fellow Iraq veteran who had lost his job and came to him for help about two years ago. He said at the time he was in no position to help.
"That's when I realized about all the those other military families applying for military assistance in the same year and that we were setting all time record highs for suicides among veterans," said Yocum. " I figured that I needed to do something to help so I started drawing maps and basically came up with the idea to walk from town to town, city to city across America to spread awareness about these issues and raise as much funds as possible and help as many families as possible."
His original goal was to raise $5,000,000, but after nines months he had only raised around $100,000 so he changed strategies and joined forces with the Wish Upon a Hero Foundation who are supporting him in his quest to help military families in need.
Since joining up with the foundation donations have increased and to date he has been able to raise more than $170,000 and has helped around 40 families.
You can learn more about his journey and contribute to the cause at drumhike.com.