MEMPHIS, TN- An ex-marine is paddling the mighty Mississippi river- alone in a canoe to help raise awareness on the plight of veterans- suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Before starting this adventure, former marine Joshua Plutz had never even paddled a canoe, but soon he will have traveled nearly 3,000 miles alone in one all the way down the Mississippi river from Wisconsin to Louisiana.
"My goal is to help veterans open up maybe get on the river or just find their own journey," said Plutz
Plutz left the Marines 8 years ago and soon realized his PTSD was getting the best of him. He was drinking too much and finding no relief. Then he got the idea of a river adventure from a friend and set out this past May. It's a 64 day adventure with stops along the way, like the one he made on Monday afternoon at the Beale Street Landing.
"It's so good to see a young man whose recognizing this is a huge issue and he is focusing all his energy not just on helping himself but everyone else in the country," said one interested and supportive bystander.
Plutz was greeted by other vets who say it's a good day when something positive like this can come out of PTSD. Since the sad reality is 22 veterans take their lives each and every day because of PTSD. That's according to the department of veterans affairs.
"It doesn't stop after this journey is done, PTSD doesn't just get cured, it doesn't go away," said Plutz.
Plutz is journaling his adventure on Facebook and is raising funds for groups to help other vets struggling to get the help he has now found paddling the river.