JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. — Two Hoosier veterans spent their Fourth of July holiday in an unconventional way.
Adam Smith and Brian Alvey are walking 110 miles to raise awareness for veterans struggling with homelessness or PTSD. They are encouraging people to donate money in support of the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation (HVAF).
They began their walk on Monday in downtown New Albany and they will finishing the journey on Friday in Franklin.
Smith spent nearly 17 years in the US Army, and Alvery is a retired soldier who served nearly 21 years.
On July 4th, they started walking at 4:30 in the morning. Under the hot summer sun, they want to go the extra mile for heroes who may call some of these streets home.
“If we can help them a little by doing this, then it’s a win,” said Alvey.
The veterans put themselves through pain knowing how hard the journey can be after serving. Smith’s path took him to the verge of suicide.
“It left me on a Wednesday in January sitting on the couch drinking every drop of alcohol in the house and putting a gun in my mouth because it was time to be done and the only reason I am here is because I passed out,” he said.
Then he decided to get help. He’s walking with Alvey in hopes their steps give others that chance too.
“Just need to take pause and think about it, maybe they have a wound,” Alvey said.
They were using the holiday to remind us about the people who make today possible. Some friends took time away from their picnics to meet up with them and bring food.
“It definitely means a lot people that people take their time to actually show the reason why we are America,” said Kristina Mazza.
One man even drove more than an hour to walk with them for a little bit.
You are invited to join them on their final stretch tomorrow to Franklin. They will walk 10 miles from the Camp Atterbury Memorial to the Mint in Franklin at 40 N. Water Street.
They will leave Camp Atterbury Memorial at noon and plan to arrive in Franklin around 4 p.m. You can also meet them there for drinks to celebrate.
If you would like to donate to HVAF, click here.