Kemz's Walk Of America
Kemz talks about why he's taking on a 1,000 mile expedition...
To begin with, when I first saw the message to join the Walk Of America, I saw the words ‘walk’ and ‘America’, and that was it! I was in! And when I looked into it I realised that it was for a really good cause too, so I wanted to help spread the word and be a part of it, basically.
I heard about it through Help for Heroes. I’m part of the Band of Brothers – which is what you become a part of when you get medically discharged, or anything like that. You start receiving their emails and stuff that tell you about events they do for other ex-service guys. It’s another community outside of the military.
So it’s because of that, now I’m here! And the walking is awesome! Every day is the same, but it’s different. You get to see so many different places. I want to come over to America in the long term, so it’s been great to see so much all in one go. I’ve seen so much more as part of this, than I would have if I’d have done it on my own.
Being out here…in America…also means a lot to me emotionally…I lost some good guys in Iraq, who I was supposed to come out and visit. I was going to go on a bit of a road-trip of America after the Army, to come out and visit their families and stuff like that, but they all died on tour. So this is a bit of a memorial trip for me too.
There have been loads of different great moments. The LA Dodgers game was pretty cool because it was out first hit of American support. Everyone was hi-fiving us and saying: “Thank you for your service!”. And every time get to a different place, something pretty amazing happens. Seeing Grizzly bears in Yellowstone. Treading on Rattlesnakes. Seeing all the different wildlife has been pretty cool.
Oh! And meeting up with Fletch! Because I haven’t seen him since 2012 in Afghan. Fletch and I served alongside each other in Afghanistan and he drove eight and a half hours down from Minneapolis to come and walk with us for the day in Kansas City. It was actually about this sort of time that I last saw him, twelve years ago…July/August time.
I like that we are all out here together, part of one team that’s aiming for one goal. And we are making a difference out here. When John [Mayhead] went back to the UK, he had so many people get in touch with him, messaging him, saying that because of what he was doing, they’ve been inspired to get help. To stand up and put their hand up. Through our social media and stuff, people are seeing what we’re doing and listening. And that’s exactly why we’re here and doing what we’re doing.
Speak up. Go out and get the support you need. Go to the doctors. Look for help. Ask for help. Because there is loads of it out there, it’s just a matter of finding it.