Veterans Trek began as an effort between two Iraq War Veterans, Anthony Anderson and Tom Voss, to walk from Milwaukee, WI to Los Angeles, CA. Their goal was not simply to walk the 2,700 mile distance. Rather, the goals established by the two were much broader. First, both men, realizing that they never took any time upon their separation from military service or time overseas, wanted to use the time to reflect on their lives, changes, and issues that have developed since their experiences in Iraq. Through a peer to peer approach, both Anderson and Voss supported each other along the walk and worked to provide a stable peer for the other to work on the number of issues each wanted to face.
Second, each had a desire to raise awareness of the issues impacting Veterans and their families. Throughout the entire trek, Anderson and Voss met hundreds of Veterans across the country who shared the experiences in the military, with the VA, in their communities, and with their families that helped to widen the scope of issues to be discussed. Beyond using their own experiences as a foundation, both Anderson and Voss found themselves speaking for Veterans who felt voiceless and powerless to influence their own lives.
Lastly, both Anderson and Voss set a goal to raise $100,000 dollars for Veteran formed and operated non-profit Dryhootch of America. Dryhootch has an innovative approach to addressing Veteran needs and has established itself as a regional leader in providing services to Veterans through a peer to peer approach. Anderson and Voss utilized social media, blogs, traditional media, appearances, and any means available to them to achieve their goal. At the end, the duo had raised $105,000 dollars for Dryhootch.
Now, Veterans Trek, much in the line of the evolution of its co-founders, takes on a new approach. Veterans Trek provides peer to peer, Veteran led treks for Veterans seeking time, healing, and camaraderie as an antidote for isolation, confusion, anger, and the myriad issues impacting a Veteran’s life. Treks are planned and prepared to eliminate cost for each participant and led by Veteran peers who have struggled with the same issues as the participants. The treks take place in a number of places with future treks planned for a number of environments and backdrops here in the US.