Warrior Hike helps combat veterans heal

As a U.S. Marine tank commander, Sean Gobin endured many harrowing experiences: the invasion of Iraq, counterinsurgency missions in Fallujah and the training of Afghan army recruits. But he never had a chance to process any of it.

In 2012, Gobin left the military and convinced a war buddy to hike the 2,168-mile Appalachian Trail with him. They used their journey to raise money for disabled veterans, but along the way, Gobin realized that the experience was also helping him.

“Hiking eight hours a day, I was processing all of these experiences that I had put away,” he said. “And I knew that there were other combat veterans that needed to do that.”

Helping veterans transition from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan has become an important issue in recent years. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 11% to 20% of those who served now struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Today, Gobin’s nonprofit, Warrior Hike, provides combat veterans with all the equipment and supplies they need to complete long-distance hikes throughout the country. Ranging from two to six months, these journeys give veterans a chance to connect with nature and work through their issues while enjoying the camaraderie and support of other war veterans.

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