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‘Walk, Roy, Walk!’

Veteran’s trek from coast to coast includes stop in West Memphis

news@theeveningtimes.com

Spurred by honor and memories, retired Marine Gunnery Sgt. Roy Brady Sr. is making his second walk across the United States on a personal mission in the Combat Wounded Veterans Challenge, including a visit to Crittenden County.

A combat veteran himself, he served on two sevenmonth tours in Iraq. Brady set out from San Diego and planned a more than 3,000 mile hike to Trenton N.J. to raise awareness and funds to help combat wounded veterans. Every step of the journey is a step for raising awareness. Gunny Brady has worn out three pair of shoes taking many literal strides while combatwounded.org strives to improve the lives of our wounded or injured veterans by assisting them to realize newfound potential.

It’s a win-win ideal. As rising tide raises all ships , helping improve the lives of individual veterans also benefits the community.

CWV stated, ”We focus our efforts on education, rehabilitation, research and innovations in field-based assessments/treatment of Orthotics and Prosthetics, Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury.”

Brady addressed the needs as he hiked into West Memphis Monday afternoon. After a day of rest, he planned to be escorted across the new bridge to Memphis on Wednesday.

He began by talking about the motivation for his for both walks across America.

“The first walk was March to August 2015, and the second one, now three years later decided to do it again; suicide hit home in my own house,” said Brady. “My brother, Major Brady, committed suicide.

He was an Armed Services member. The reason I’m going up to New Jersey is the place of another good friend of mine, Tommy Simpson. He committed suicide. He was a younger Marine I helped train. I received that phone call from his parents. I’m not just doing this for my brother or my friend but because suicide is still an ongoing problem for our combat veterans.”

Brady wanted to do more than drive donations, he wanted to deliver understanding to the challenges veterans face.

“Go to combatwounded.org; read about it,” said Brady.

“Know what we are pushing toward and raising awareness to. Understand it, and then if you want to donate to the organization, do so.”

The more folks think about it and the more often veterans plights are considered the bigger the awareness and support.

“I’m going back the same route I walked before,” said Brady. “It’s the same people I met before but more people too.” Brady spoke about the many challenges that motivate him to walk on and spread the word.

“I’m raising awareness about PTSD, the suicide rate as high as it is now with 22 per day,” said Brady. “It’s somebody everyday, all branches of the services. Traumatic Brain Injury is something you get from being in mortar fire or vehicle accidents. Lastly, improving prosthetics: We challenge veterans with through ’Woe is Me’.

We want them to know they are the same person as before the (limb was) taken off and improving them everyday.”

What does Brady think about as he takes his strides across America?

“First thing that goes through my mind is making the daily goal,” said Brady.

“When am I going to get there? Like a bunch of kids in the back of a car, are we there yet, are we there yet?”

For many combat wounded veterans, no, they’re not there yet. So Brady walks on.

By John Rech

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