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Veterans paddle 8 days, 175 miles to raise awareness for PTSD - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Veterans paddle 8 days, 175 miles to raise awareness for PTSD

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Their journey is now complete.

For eight days, combat veterans paddled 175 miles from Columbia to Charleston, enduring storms, injuries, and illness, all in an effort to raise awareness for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD).

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of 22 veterans commit suicide a day.  That's the same number of veterans who completed the week-long challenge, docking at The Citadel boathouse Friday afternoon.

The effort, led by Project Josiah Restoration Ministry, sought to offer veterans a safe environment to share combat experiences.

U.S. Marine A.J. McIntyre finished the challenge for a veteran he'd never met, one who committed suicide after struggling with PTSD.

"For some of us, including myself, it was a wakeup call," he said.

"To be rolling in with my brothers, and all of us rolling in strong, it was a whole lot of pride and pretty emotional."

Bobby Farmer, CEO of Project Josiah, said of the challenge, "it was such an emotional high."

"We want to be appreciated, not sympathy so much, just appreciation."

Friday, several dozen veterans, families, and support groups lined the dock with American flags, amidst a parade of cheers in a show of support.

"This is amazing," said Isiah Gochett, of the U.S. Army National Guard.

"Coming around the corner, we're used to 15 people, 16, 17 maybe. Coming around that corner you see everybody here to support us."

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