Navy Veteran Walking Hundreds of Miles Barefoot Across Country to Raise Awareness for Veteran Mental Health

by Halle Ames

In honor of Memorial Day weekend, one Navy veteran is taking the steps needed to bring awareness to veteran’s mental health. 

Starting their journey in Panama City, Florida, David Bulger and Justin Moore are ditching their boots and socks for something a little lighter. The military man and his friend are walking across the United States barefoot to bring awareness to the mental health crisis in the veteran community. 

Bulger spoke to Fox News about the initiative. He also proudly showed off his battered feet, which feature dirt and scrapes. 

“We’re walking 22 miles,” states Bulger. 

However, the Navy veteran isn’t just walking 22 miles. No, they are walking 22 miles a day for 22 days leading up to Memorial Day. 

So, why 22? The number is significant due to the fact that the Department of Veterans Affairs reported nine years ago that nearly 22 American military personnel commit suicide every day. The news source notes that in recent reports, that number was down to roughly 17. 

Regardless, 22 miles for 22 days is no small “feet.” That totals out to nearly 500 miles of walking for Bulger and Moore. They say they hope their travels will bring awareness to the mental health crisis facing veterans. 

Veteran Walks for Cause That Hits Home

David Bulger was stationed aboard the USS New York during his time in the Navy. He was one of the servicemen and women who struggled with suicidal thoughts after the military. In order to bring awareness to his own struggles along with countless others, the man started walking. Bulger documented his travels on Facebook on a page he created called Barefoot 22. 

“The transition out is never easy, especially for the person who had the perfect career while they were in,” admitted Bulger. “So, 100 percent of veterans could use help.”

Furthermore, the Navy man brings an important question to light. 

“Why are the strongest men and women in the strongest fighting force in the world having some of the highest suicide rates?” Bulger asked.

On the other hand, Justin Moore has not served in the military. Moore is Bulger’s good friend, and upon sharing the issues he faces and other veterans, Moore couldn’t pass up this opportunity to bring the matter to light. 

Mental health is the “issue of our generation,” Moore told Fox News. “David asks me every day if I’m coming out to the trails, and I say, ‘Yes, man, I’ll be there for the full 22 days.'” 

And to that, we tip our hats to you, two selfless men. 

The VA currently has programs in place, such as the website, which provides resources for veterans struggling with mental health issues. There is also the Veteran Crisis Line.