UPDATE: Wounded Warrior’s walk hits a snag.
SOUTH DAKOTA – Ken Brock, who passed Nebraska City and Auburn this spring on a 2,650-mile walk for the Wounded Warriors Program, was tripped up this week.
Don Coble, manager editor of the newspaper Clay Today, said it wasn’t tornadoes in Alabama, flooding in Nebraska or thunderstorms in the Badlands that halted Brock, but the U.S. Veterans Administration.
Brock and his service dog Pam had made it 1,722 miles into the five-month trek when the VA scheduled a random “evaluation of services” at his home state of Florida.
The newspaper says Brock told the VA what he was doing to raise awareness for veterans, but the VA insisted that he return home for the review or face the loss of benefits.
Brock told the newspaper that since he has been so committed to completing the walk, the VA may mistakenly believe he no longer suffers from PTSD. Brock said it is not the case.
He said he and Pam may not finish on July 4 as he had planned, but he vows to return to South Dakota to resume his walk. He is 928 miles short of his destination.
AUBURN – Ken Brock and his service dog Pam understand the day-by-day battle of those going through the Wounded Warrior Project.
Brock, who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, reached Auburn Tuesday, about the half-way mark of his 2,650-mile trip from Florida to Idaho.
Brock: “The true heroes in this are the soldiers going through the Wounded Warrior project. They live day to day, fight the battle that they came home from. They haven’t left it yet. I want to honor them by this walk.”
AmVets Post 86 in Keystone Heights, Fla., recognized Pam as the trip mascot and gave Brock’s journey the “Where’s Pam?” theme.
Brock said their impact on PSTD survivors makes the walk worthwhile
Brock: “Pam made a difference in my life and by doing so, this walk has already made a difference in people’s lives. I’ve receive instant messages from people with PTSD telling me that by sharing my story … from them not having any light at the end of the tunnel, they see a flicker of hope.”
Brock hopes to arrive at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, for the Fourth of July parade there. Pam walks four or five miles a day, but the 65-pound pal rides most of the way.
Brock, 53, left Florida in February and said the first half of the trip has had its challenges.
Brock: “The route has been fairly, okay. It’s been kind of crazy in Georgia and Alabama with the rain, thunderstorms and tornadoes, dodging all that.”
Flooding that shut down Interstate 29 and Missouri River bridges has brought Brock and Pam up the busy Highway 75 to Nebraska City.
Brock said nothing about the trip has been easy.
Brock: “You get up feeling refreshed and you go to bed feeling you’ve accomplished something, but everyday in between the two … it’s rewarding, but it’s a battle. Your feet hurt at the end of the day. Each step, the Good Lord takes me to the next step.”
After arriving in Auburn, Brock said he feels great. “Better than I have for many years.”