SANTA MONICA—Buddy Watch Walk finished its 2,462 mile adventure across the United States at the Santa Monica Pier on June 14.
Buddy Watch Walk Pier to Pier began with John Ring who started his walk in Tybee Island, Georgia on Oct 1, 2019. While in Mississippi, Jimmy Matthews joined him.
Ring currently serves as an Infantryman with the 48th IBCT, Delta Company 2-121 in the Georgia Army National Guard, while Matthews has been with the Army since 1994. He served time in Bosnia, Kuwait on three different deployments and has done three combat tours in Iraq.
They walk to raise awareness for social issues mental health, PTSD, homelessness, unemployment, MST, TBI, addiction and suicide within the veteran community.
Over 14,000 people have been following the walk and showing support on Facebook. Throughout the journey, the walkers have received donations and have begun challenges for their supporters. One challenge created involved 22 push-ups with the #22UpDown4Vets to raise awareness to the statistic of 22 veterans that commit suicide everyday.
The walk had to be put on pause when the coronavirus outbreak hit the nation. The pair stated: “Due to the current situation with the COVID-19 virus, we paused the walk 53 days for safety and supply reasons. We are resuming the walk on May 13, 2020 in New Mexico.”
Ring stated on Facebook June 15 what it was like to finally make the finish line:
“Yesterday was definitely more than I could have ever imagined at the #finishline. The reality of what this walk has meant to people all over the country slowly sank in as we walked the last 13 miles,” he said.
Ring also discussed the impact him and Matthews had as people shared their testimonies and gratitude to the pair for showing awareness.
There is another walk planned to begin March 25, 2022.