26-year-old Zach Day, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, will begin a 2200 mile, 5-month long hike of the Appalachian Trail in early June, 2012, on behalf of HVAF which is currently providing housing and basic needs to 200 homeless veterans in Indianapolis.
Day’s journey will start at Mt. Katahdin, ME and will carry him through 14 states to Georgia’s Springer Mountain.
Day, who ended his 12-month Afghan tour, in August, 2011, says he’s lucky to have strong family support, as well as support from the Indiana American Legion. But, he says many aren’t so lucky and find themselves without a place to live. This was Day’s motivation for his Hike for Hoosier Vets campaign, which he hopes will raise awareness and funds for HVAF.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has recorded fewer than 12,000 people that have hiked the entire trail since the 1930s, when it was established. Day has been training for months, and he says he is prepared to face challenges along the way.
"Your life may change when you come back from war, but your goals don't have to, just the way you go about achieving them,” says Day. “Everyone has their journey. You have to be willing to take it."
You can partner with Day, the Indiana American Legion, and HVAF to help expand supportive services for homeless veterans by making a monetary donation to HVAF in honor of Day’s Hike for Hoosier Vets. To make a donation go to www.hvaf.org or contact Debra Des Vignes, marketing coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-951-0688. If you are interested in sponsoring Zach with a donation of equipment or gear, contact email@example.com.
Day will be documenting his journey through a trail journal.You can follow his progress on the HVAF blog at hvafofindiana.blogspot.com starting next month.
READ MORE VETERAN STORIES AND UPCOMING HVAF EVENTS IN THE MAY NEWSLETTER.