Man will end cross-country veterans' suicide awareness walk at Disney this week
DELAND, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Army veteran Jimmy Novak is on a mission to save veterans' lives one step at a time.
"I have 2,738 miles on my feet as of right now since March,” Novak said. “So, it's been a good summer."
Novak is walking across the country from his home in Washington State to Disney to raise awareness for veterans who die by suicide.
He’s almost done with his journey.
The News Station caught up with him in DeLand, while he took a break from walking.
"I just had this idea that it was something that could be done and it would be a fun challenge to put myself through,” Novak said.
Novak started his journey on March 22.
"Everywhere I go, people want to help me be successful,” Novak said. “So, I've walked into strangers’ yards to ask for water and had them not only fill up my water, but offer me a place to stay for the night and a meal."
He walks about 22 miles a day.
The number 22 is significant. It’s the number of veterans who take their own lives each day.
Novak said this is important to him because he, too, has dealt with anxiety and depression. He admits he has thought about suicide.
"I'm very grateful to still be here,” Novak said. “So, what I hope to do by being out here is to encourage people who are struggling with anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts - to reach out and seek help early."
Novak will finish his journey to Disney on Aug. 22, which also happens to be his 43rd birthday. His family will meet him at the park.