'Wounded Walk' raises awareness about veterans

Posted: Updated:
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Two marine veterans are about to walk hundreds of miles through the Mojave Desert to raise awareness about the soldiers who fought for our freedom.

The walk is called "The Wounded Walk," and it's designed to raise awareness about mentally and physically wounded veterans to make sure they get the treatment they deserve.

In 2013, Adam Shatarsky was on a mission, but he had no idea just how many lives he'd touch and how many would touch his.

He had only a survival backpack and the boots on his feet. Shatarsky walked across the country to raise awareness for wounded war veterans. And with the help of social media his campaign raised nearly $100,000 and also inspired others to do the same.

"I literally pulled up at the end of his first walk in DC; I double-parked my car, ran over to him and expressed how much it moved me, and I expressed my desire to be part of the organization," said Ross Delafield, also a U.S. Marine veteran.

With that, the two Virginia natives set out to conquer what seems impossible: a 300-mile walk through the Mojave desert during the month of August. After a brief stop in the Valley, they're driving to California, lacing up their donated boots and beginning their quest to help veterans transitioning back to civilian life.

"That's our major goal is to help empower guys. We want to be able to create a transition program that's worthwhile, something that gives people the sense of accomplishment that they had while they were in the Marine Corps," said Delafield.

The walk comes on the heels of the nationally scrutinized May scandal at the Phoenix VA Medical Center, where dozens of patients may have died while awaiting medical care. Shatarsky is hopeful "Mission Mojave" will be instrumental in bringing change.

"The system itself need to be changed, the logging system and the way the veterans are filed. That needs to be changed because there's no reason for a month, two month waiting period. There's no reason for that," he said.

For more information on the Wounded Walk, visit thewoundedwalk.org or Facebook.com/thewoundedwalk.