Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail

Traci Galyon, the Reluctant Hiker takes on the PCT for Veterans

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Traci Galyon, the Reluctant Hiker takes on the PCT for Veterans

As I turn 50 and I celebrate 25 years with the love of my life, I wanted to give back to the community who always gives, never asks for anything in return but not to be forgotten, and still gets pushed to the wayside all when they no longer serve. Our military veterans.

In 2012 there were 22 vets each day taking their own lives because they felt they were no longer worthy to our society. Mission 22 was created to assist veterans and their families, as needed, in the fight with mental illness. The military “family” and community is lost as we leave active duty. This leaves people to feel lost, worthless, hopeless.

As a vet, the wife of a retired vet, and with children serving our country, our nations’ veterans hold a special place in my heart.

When I set out in 2021 to hike the 2201 miles from Amicolola Falls in GA to Baxter State Park (Mt Khatadin) in ME, I knew I wanted to do something different. I had absolutely NO IDEA what “different” was. (My husband and) I just wanted to do something “that mattered” when we “retired”. Because I didn’t know how I was going to help, I didn’t. That has weighed on me.

When I hit the trail (Pacific Crest Trail) in just a few weeks, and as I prepare to hit the trail, I want raise awareness of these struggles and speak up for those who can not. I want to share the struggle of my trail journey as a metaphor for the struggle these families face every day. They are returning home from service and taking their lives at an alarming rate. I hope that in raising awareness, we are able to help save lives.

I will be raising awareness and funds for Mission 22 with a goal of at least $1 per mile of this 2,650 mile journey. I will be interviewing people on trail, (hopefully multiple veterans, as I saw on the AT) and I will post these videos as we have service!

You can follow the PCT journey to raise awareness on my YouTube channel: https://youtube.com/channel/UCjGW87doU9H8XxouyOB1iXw([https://youtube.com/channel/UCjGW87doU9H8Xxou]

Mission 22 supports the veteran community with three main programs; veteran wellness programs, memorials and community social impact. Mission 22 provides wellness programs to veterans and their families for Post-Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury and other issues they might be facing. It organizes events and builds memorials to create social impact and awareness for these issues. Mission 22 serves combat veterans, those injured in training who therefore could not deploy and victims of MST. Mission 22 also has an Ambassador volunteer program for people to get involved as well. Ambassadors educate the public on veteran issues, help get veterans into Mission 22 treatment programs and create resources in their communities. Through these three programs, it enables a push for the betterment of our community and support when veterans need it the most, right now.