Cross country walk brings veterans to Abilene just in time for snow

KTAB News

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – As snow and ice melt away, life returns to the Big Country. For two men, the weather hasn’t made a difference as they’ve pushed their way across the country.

John Ring and Jimmy Mathews are walking from sea to shining sea, or more accurately, pier to pier. They’re headed to Santa Monica Pier in California, after starting at Tybee Island Pier in Georgia.

John Ring explained his reasons for the walk: “To raise awareness for veterans’ issues such as PTSD, TBI, MST, which is Military Sexual Trauma, addiction, homelessness, and basically everything that’s leading veterans to commit suicide at a horrific rate.”

Ring set off from Georgia, but Jimmy Mathews didn’t. In fact, they didn’t know each other until after the walk had started.

“As he was coming through Mississippi I reached out and told him I wanted to join him, and here I am”, said Mathews.

They’re around halfway between the start and end point of the walk, and they really picked a great time to stop in Abilene.

“We were planning on leaving today, so the snow came at the right time”, laughed Ring. “This is the first snow of our trip, and hopefully the last.”

When the walk first started, Ring says he had to sleep outside many nights. Luckily, the duo now rarely doesn’t have a warm bed. For their stop in Abilene, the Whitten Inn provided three complimentary days of lodging.

With each stop, and each step, the pair raises a little more awareness about the issues facing veterans.

“We’re not the first ones to do this”, said Ring. “We definitely won’t be the last. We definitely want to leave our footprint for future people to make this adventure, you know, this journey across the country.”

To keep an eye on John and Jimmy’s progress, and to learn more about their cause, you can visit their website at buddywatchwalk.com.

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