Marine Corps veteran Terry Sharpe cares about walking. A lot. But what he cares about more is using his long, long walks to shed light on important veterans issues.
Sharpe, a veteran of the Vietnam War, on June 1, finished his fifth 300-mile journey from his home in Summerfield, North Carolina to Washington, DC. Each time he makes the trek, he travels approximately 10 to 14 miles a day, all in the service of drawing attention to urgent problems facing the veterans community.
Sharpe says he still suffers from post-traumatic stress from fighting in Vietnam, and his own experience inspired him to transform his pain into something positive.
“I've had it for 48 years, it don't go away, you just have to deal with it,” Sharpe told WSET.com. “Only way I can do it is by walking on the highway with two flags on my back.”
Sharpe’s focused on several issues in the past, including veteran incarceration and PTSD, but this year’s journey was dedicated to raising awareness of veteran suicide. He was accompanied by Ken Wilson, whose Army veteran son killed himself in 2013.
"It's rough on both of us. Our feet, we hurt at the end of the day. But it's worth it if we can just maybe save one," Sharpe told WSLS10.
In September 2014, Sharpe and fellow former Marine Allen Brown walked from their homes in North Carolina to Washington, DC, twice, to protest the federal government’s inaction in liberating Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi from a Mexican prison.
Sharpe’s third trek in June 2015 called attention to the plights of four Americans — Marine Amir Hekmati, christian pastor Saeed Abedini, reporter Jason Rezaian, and former FBI agent Robert Levinson — held hostage in an Iranian prison.
And in June 2016, Sharpe donned his hiking boots once again to call for more government action to end the 22 veteran suicides that occur daily across America. Although the VA has reduced that estimate to 20 veterans a day, the number is still too high for Sharpe’s comfort.
“Coming home from war, a six-month deployment on a ship or simply transitioning from a life in uniform to a life without one can be difficult and the various state and federal systems set up to deal with this transition and life after military services are unable to meet the need,” Sharpe wrote on WalkingMarine.com, his personal site. “The challenges of adjustment and transition, post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, and physical disabilities, all need to be addressed especially as these things result in barriers to education, employment, health care and overall individual well being.”
Task & Purpose reached out to Sharpe. We will update when more information becomes available.
Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran atIron Mountain. Committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace, Iron Mountain is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn more here.
Jackie Melendrez couldn't be prouder of her husband, her sons, and the fact that she works for the trucking company Iron Mountain. This regional router has been a Mountaineer since 2017, and says the support she receives as a military spouse and mother is unparalleled.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A 40-foot-tall (12 meters) cross-shaped war memorial standing on public land in Maryland does not constitute government endorsement of religion, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday in a decision that leaves unanswered questions about the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution's separation of church and state.
The justices were divided on many of the legal issues but the vote was 7-2 to overturn a lower court ruling that had declared the so-called Peace Cross in Bladensburg unconstitutional in a legal challenge mounted by the American Humanist Association, a group that advocates for secular governance. The concrete cross was erected in 1925 as a memorial to troops killed in World War One.
The ruling made it clear that a long-standing monument in the shape of a Christian cross on public land was permissible but the justices were divided over whether other types of religious displays and symbols on government property would be allowed. Those issues are likely to come before the court in future cases.