A U.S. Marine, who lost his leg to a bomb in Afghanistan, is opening up about his latest journey: walking 205 in 11 days with a 50-pound bag on his back.
While speaking to PEOPLE, former U.S. Marine, Nick Perales of Bandera, Texas, spoke about how he decided to pay tribute to fellow military heroes by walking 205 miles. He reflected on his injury and recalled everything that happened when the bomb went off.
“I took one step. And the next thing I knew, I was being thrown through the air, against the ground, really hard,” the marine shared. He also said he instantly realized that he just stepped on a bomb and saw the red flash just as it blew up beneath him. “I was laying there with my legs basically blown off, one mangled, and my hips fractured.”
Perales then said that he was ready to give up and told fellow marines to let him go to sleep. “I told my guys, ‘Tell my family I love them. I’m fine with this. I’m good,’” he explained.
However, the Marines as well as doctors and nurses kept him alive and got him through the darkest times of his life. “I didn’t know I was going to have a second chance at life,” Perales explained. “And I’m forever grateful for them.”
Former U.S. Marine Walks to Raise Awareness For Wounded Veterans
As a tribute to the marines who helped him through the situation, Perales began training and decided to “embark on a monumental journey” to raise awareness for wounded veterans. He began his 205-mile, 11-day walk on Tuesday (November 2nd0 with a 50-pound rucksack on his back.
Perales further explained that he is planning to walk about 20 to 25 miles a day from his Houston home to the Center of Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. This is the same facility where he spent more than two and a half years undergoing multiple procedures on his left leg. He also did extensive rehabilitation at the same facility. His goal is to finish his walk by noon on Veteran’s Day (November 11th).
“It didn’t feel like I was challenging myself enough, and I didn’t feel like I was making as big of an impact that I wanted to, that my heart wanted to,” Perales stated. He then said his journey is called The Weight of It: A Walk For Remembrance.
Perales is being spooned by C4 Energy. The journey is part of the drink brand’s partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project. “I feel like I’m in debut, to not only veterans, our first responders, but society in general, you know? And I really just want to do whatever it is that I can to give back to others.”