HAVERHILL, Mass. — A local veteran is embarking on a big journey to support other vets.
William Shuttleworth is walking across America, starting in Massachusetts and ending in California.
The six-month trek, which is the equivalent of a marathon every day, is no small feat, but pales in comparison to the powerful message Shuttleworth is carrying.
"I will average about 25-30 [miles] per day, which is like walking a marathon a day," said Shuttleworth.
The 72-year-old Newburyport man began his epic 3,000 mile cross-country journey, that he's dubbed "Vets Don't Forget Vets," to California on Wednesday.
"I will probably average 500 miles a pair of shoes so I’ll probably go through six or seven pairs," said Shuttleworth.
The U.S. Air Force veteran is on a one-man mission to raise awareness for veterans' needs, rain or shine.
"I’m particularly concerned about the number of homeless veterans that have mental health issues and the number of veterans that everyday struggle with opioid and alcohol issues," said Shuttleworth. "I consider it a privilege and an honor, lucky enough to be healthy to do this."
Shuttleworth plans on stopping and visiting veterans across the country in places like American Legions, VFW halls and coffee houses.
"He’s not doing it for himself, he’s not doing it to fill some void in his life - he’s doing it to bring attention to a cause that needs attention brought to it, right," said Sal DeFranco, a former Navy Seal.
As for lodging, there will be no comfortable hotels or swanky restaurants along the way for this veteran. Shuttleworth is carrying everything he needs on his back and plans to camp out.
Shuttleworth plans on arriving at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California by Halloween.
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