On February 14, 2015, a local veteran started what many would deem an impossible task – walking more than 5,000 miles across the United States to raise awareness for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. On March 19, 2016, US Marine Corps Veteran Ryan Weldon finished his walk across the country. Ending his trip exactly 400 days after it began, his travels took him through 13 states, starting in Dover, DE all the way to Houston, TX and then on to San Francisco, CA. Weldon says he chose to raise awareness for PTSD after discovering "22 Veterans take their own lives due to PTSD, and having almost taken my own life on March 31, 2014, I knew that is why I must do the walk."
Ryan Weldon joined the US Marine Corps for a few reasons, he says, including needing the military's help to guide him back to the right path after starting down a destructive path and that if you become a Marine, then you are part of something most will never understand, it's a tight family!
During his time in the US Marine Corps, Weldon traveled all over the United States and visited foreign countries like Japan and Africa. He also spent time stationed in Yuma, AZ and Beaufort, SC. Weldon says some of the most memorable experiences he has during his time in the Marines "were making friends that would last forever and overcoming my fears."
But, like many military personnel, Weldon struggled to adapt back to civilian life. "For me," Weldon says, "It was not the easiest thing to re-adjust. It honestly took me falling before I knew what my career path would be. but know I'm a writer, Inspirational Speaker, and non-profit work and disaster recovery work.
I think that if you serve in the military, you already have a different outlook on war and the military. I knew that when I joined, number one, Marines are trained gunfighters first and then your job. I look at things much different than most, when you face death and the realization that tomorrow may never come then you learn to live for the moment.
No Veteran will ever be the same after they get out but the first thing we are trained to do, is adapt and overcome, no matter what. Everything I learned in the Corps, I still use today."
Happy 242nd Birthday, Devil Dogs!!!!!