CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A veteran support group traveled 175 miles over a five day period along South Carolina waterways to raise awareness for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and veteran suicide.
They started in Columbia and made their way down to the BP Cooper River Recreation Center in Charleston, the finish line. It's called the PTSD Challenge and it's the third time for the event.
Mace Johnson is U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran.
"It's great, I missed finals to come out here," Johnson said.
Lance Newman is also a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
"Day one was hard, it seems like we had a big current against us," Newman said.
Though they made it to the end of the challenge it's not the end for combat veterans dealing with PTSD which can lead to anxiety and flashbacks triggered by a traumatic event like war.
"It means a lot because I've had friends and even roommates that have unfortunately committed suicide and it helps us to raise awareness to hopefully show them that there's some place they can go to talk or at least people that they can talk to," Newman said.
Johnson said they camped out and slept under the stars each night.
"What keeps me going... I think about a lot of the folks we lost, I think about them, I think about the ones who are not getting the help they are supposed to get," Johnson said. "I think about my family who even had trouble with understanding what I was going through."
They want veterans to know that others care.
"Don't think you're alone, you're not alone." Newman said.
They invite you to join them.
"Attend some the meetings it helps," Johnson said.
The challenge ended with a fellowship of veterans from the around the area and their families.
"We just want to get them the help they can get through Project Josiah," Johnson said.
Project Josiah is the group behind this effort.
It's a Christian based support group for veterans to help empower them and improve their lives. There are various support groups across the state including one in North Charleston.
If you'd like to learn more here is the link to the website: http://www.projectjosiah.org/