Helping Hands for Freedom Kicks off The Route for the Brave by Lynette Carrington As a vibrant and engaging nonprofit, Helping Hands for Freedom serves military families in many ways. One of the most recent developments is the upcoming endeavor, the Route for the Brave – Walk Across America that begins April 28, 2016 in Atlantic City and arrives in San Francisco August 26, 2016. The Route for the Brave is a 3,000-mile trek on foot across the country that will be raising money and awareness for Gold Star families and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Gold Star award is given to the next of kin of any soldier is killed in action. In considering the overall mission of The Route for The Brave, one only needs to consider the staggering statistics that our veterans and their families face. Roughly 30 percent of veterans with PTSD are those soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Less than 50 percent of those with PTSD seek treatment, and only half of those people get minimally adequate treatment. Recent statistical studies show that rates of veteran suicide average 22 a day on home soil. This trend must stop and everyone must be made aware of these staggering statistics and learn what can be done to assist these soldiers and their families as they work through challenging times. The Route for the Brave will specifically be raising funds for a retreat house. The retreat house will serve as a safe and special place where veterans living with PTSD can go to re-adjust to civilian life with their families. While there, veterans and their family members will receive the counseling they need in a warm and supportive environment that understands their unique challenges. Although a final retreat house location has yet to be chosen, sites being considered are located in Arizona, Indiana and Kentucky. The introduction of various therapy animals and even horseback riding are also being considered to further assist in the counseling and treatment process of our country’s veterans and their families. Members of the HHFF team will be at the helm of the walk. Helping Hands for Freedom chairman of the board, David Roth, and schoolteacher, Kevin Winton, are both walking coast to coast! Others will be on the walk, either in support vehicles or on parts of the walk during the 3,000 mile journey. Of note, Roth has dropped nearly 50 pounds in the past year in efforts to get healthier and prepare for the upcoming foot journey. He has been doing workouts with heavy-weight boxing champion Lamon Brewster. Click here to sponsor David Roth and Kevin Winton now on the Route for the Brave. You will be supporting Roth and Winton and supporting all of our country’s military families who may need the assistance of HHFF at any given time.The Route for the Brave initially got its spark from a five mile walk that took place on October 19, 2015 in Shelbyville, Indiana, where Shelbyville Mayor, Tom DeBraun declared the special day, “Route for the Brave Day in Shelbyville.” Prior to that event, Roth, a 20-plus year veteran of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department walked U.S. 40 from Richmond to Terra Haute, IN. During the nationwide walk, Winton and Roth will have a carefully planned route and support vehicles to assist them. Along the way, they will make time to speak to veterans and their advocacy groups across the country about the walk, PTSD and Helping Hands for Freedom. “Each day, we get a phone call from a person wanting to donate or do an event for us,” Roth says. “Obviously for me, success will be completing the trip, but it won’t stop there. I want to build the house that gives military families an opportunity to connect. When we get that first family and give them a place of retreat - that will be amazing. That’s everything right there.”Sponsor the Route for the Brave today! There are opportunities for corporate, state and mileage sponsors and the need for new, quality shoes will be ongoing. For additional information on the full route and schedule of the Route for the Brave, visit www.routeforthebrave.org. You can also follow along with the daily progress of Roth and Winton, plus see a lot of inspiring photos at https://www.facebook.com/Routeforthebrave/. Helping Hands for Freedom has a primary mission of supporting the surviving spouse and children of a veteran who doesn’t return from the conflict. It can take months for a family to receive the death benefit and often this also results in a relocation from base housing. HHFF steps in to help with basic expenses during their time of transition. We assist those severely wounded who need equipment or housing modifications as they adjust to new life circumstances. We also help the children with life enrichment programs, mentorship and counseling. For additional information about Helping Hands for Freedom, visit www.helpinghandsforfreedom.org.