Veteran to Hike the Appalachian Trail to Raise Awareness

As Christopher Davis, program manager of Goodwill Manasota’s American Veterans and Their Families Initiative, walks the trail, every step will not only bring him closer to home, but will also help to fulfill a lifelong dream.

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Chris Davis, Goodwill Manasota Program Manager for the American Veterans and Their Families Initiative

'This is something I’ve always wanted to do. When I was sitting in Afghanistan in 2002, I promised myself that if I lived, I would walk the entire trail for a good cause,' said Davis.

Sarasota, Florida (PRWEB) May 08, 2014

Beginning on May 29, 2014, Christopher Davis will begin a 2,185-mile journey to raise awareness and funds for the Goodwill Manasota American Veterans and Their Families Initiative. He is estimating a five-month time frame to walk from Mount Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia.

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do. When I was sitting in Afghanistan in 2002, I promised myself that if I lived, I would walk the entire trail for a good cause,” said Davis.

Davis says hiking is something that veterans can easily relate to. “I want vets to know that you can reintegrate into the world. Our program does a lot of work with people who start out at ground zero. I can tell them I’ve been there. We walk a lot in the military and a veteran sitting at home can identify with someone throwing a backpack on and walking for 2,000 miles. If that makes one vet get involved with our program, it’ll be a success,” said Davis.

This journey is also a homecoming story. The Appalachian Trail ends just outside of Davis’ hometown in Ellijay, Georgia. Having left home right after high school to join the military, and experiencing the horrors of war for more than 14 years, Davis will be walking home while reconnecting with his childhood landscape. Davis, once homeless and diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, says he wants to change the narrative on both the disorder and the stigma attached to some veterans after leaving the service.

“My entire life has pretty much echoed this theme and it’s a philosophy I hope hits home with veterans all across this country that are following me on the walk. You just have to always keep moving forward, one step at a time, and always just put one foot in front of the other.”

About Chris Davis
Chris Davis served 14 years with the United States Army as a Senior Intelligence Analyst. Deployed a total of seven times to Iraq and Afghanistan, he has compiled an impressive list of awards and decorations, which include two Bronze Star Medals, the Combat Action Badge, Master Parachutist Badge and Expert Infantryman’s Badge.

Today, Davis is the Program Manager for Goodwill Manasota’s American Veterans and Their Families Initiative.

The Initiative is designed to assist military members and their families as they transition into civilian life.
"Chris's experience will be essential in helping veterans navigate the confusing array of programs available to them as they return to the civilian sector," said Bob Rosinsky, president and CEO of Goodwill Manasota.

Help support military members and their families by supporting Christopher Davis aka “Goodwill Walking” on his journey.

Donation Levels:
Trail Hand: $110 (5 cent per mile)
Trail Walker: $550 (25 cents per mile)
Trail Blazer: $1100 (50 cent per mile)
Trail Master: $2200 ($1 per mile)

Any other donation amount­ would be greatly appreciated!

About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2013, we served more than 16,000 people, placed 537 people in jobs, and assisted 329 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $39.3 million. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee, and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. We also provide opportunities through numerous programs, such as Donated Goods Employment Services, Job Connection, American Veterans & their Families Initiative, JobsPlus, Supported JobsPlus, GoodwillWorks, White Glove Services, Good Neighbor Program, and Ambassadors Program. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted 37 million pounds out of the landfill. Goodwill Manasota is legally organized under the laws of the United States and the State of Florida. We are accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota in essence belongs to this community, and is NOT owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit EXPERIENCEGOODWILL.ORG.