MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A retired U.S. Army veteran has traveled months, thousands of miles and millions of steps to create awareness for veteran suicide and PTSD.
Retired Staff Sgt. Van Booth started his journey on Feb. 23 in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. and ended it at Plyler Park Tuesday in Myrtle Beach.
Booth said he took 7.1 million steps in his 3,135 mile journey.
In the past 10 months, he has been through a lot, including all types of severe weather.
“I’ve been rained on, sleet on, hailed, lightning, I’ve been in all kinds of weather," Booth said.
But that never stopped him.
He’s met many people along the way, and on Tuesday, some of those new friends even joined him during his last mile. They walked right along his side during those final steps.
Myrtle Beach police blocked off roads and stopped traffic for Booth and the group, allowing them to walk on the street.
“I got to walk in the road, really in the road, for the whole time in my walk today, never done that before,” he said.
He’s walked across 13 states total, sharing his journey on Facebook.
“Some of those folks are out here today from Freedoms Sings USA and so, I’m doing it for them because they helped save my life. They helped me through music therapy, I’ve been able to write songs," Booth said.
And one important piece of his journey is a guitar that now has many signatures, stickers and messages, documenting his adventure across the nation.
“I put one string on it for every 500 miles until 3,000 miles it gets its final string, and it symbolizes it’s healed again," Booth said.
And it’s fitting that the day he completed the walk was New Year’s Eve, ending his decade in a way he never thought he would just 10 years ago.
“When I started this decade I was in Iraq and I could never imagine this is how I would end this decade," he said.
This isn’t the last time Booth will visit the Grand Strand. He was invited to be the celebrity Grand Marshal for the Military Appreciation Parade in May.