Veteran Hikes Appalachian Trail for Wounded Soldiers
Reporter: James Gherardi l Videographer: Jonathan Merryman
Danville, VA - Since his time in combat, Marine Captain Mark Silvers, 26, said he was moved to help fellow soldiers severely injured during war. He said his time oversees not only opened his eyes, but prompted him to take action.
Silvers says the idea came to him during his second tour in Afghanistan.
"While a lot of marines and sailors are going home alive, they are going home with debilitating injuries as well, so we wanted to do something to help," he said.
Silvers and fellow marine Sean Gobin decided they'd hike the entire Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine - stopping at 38 V-F-W posts along the way, at each, hosting a fundraiser for injured veterans.
"I think the hardest part is pacing ourselves. It's very easy to get out there and want to go with a military pace and getting the miles done, but it's just not that simple, it's the tortoise that wins this race," he said.
"Well when I saw the mileage per day, I thought, 'This is crazy,'" said his mom Jo Silvers.
Silvers is getting help from home every step of the journey. Every week, Jo Silvers ships her son donated food, drinks and fundraising shirts - all with the logo promoting Mark's journey - "Warrior Hike." She worries about him sure, but compared to combat, she says this is nothing.
"He said, 'Mom, don't worry, I'm in the nose-bleed section, you don't have to worry about me.' But you do worry because things just happen," said Jo Silvers.
Support for Silvers extends far beyond just family. Local veterans say they're grateful for his service overseas and here at home.
"He's been there, he knows what the need is, it's heartwarming, it's really heartwarming," said Danville veteran Lawrence McFall.
Mark began his journey on March 14, and to date he's gone almost 200 miles and raised more than $1,000.
If you'd like to donate to Mark's cause and to help wounded veterans, visit his website.