Two men are hoping an 85-mile hike across Indiana will bring notoriety and funding to a fledgling veterans assistance program that provides multi-day excursions into the great outdoors.
The Romans Warrior Foundation is tiny – really tiny, just seven full-time members – but founder Brian Romans and fellow member and former police officer Heath Murray are tenaciously trying to gain notoriety and spread the word on combat-related post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with the Foundation’s inaugural Warrior Hike.
“We understand that this is not a trek across the Appalachian Trail, cross country, or any other long-distance hike,” said Murray. “However, our ultimate goal is to eventually be able to implement cross-state designated thru-hikes, and ultimately month-long treks to benefit our veterans, gold star families, and first responders.”
Along their five-day march from Linton, Ind., to the Indianapolis War Memorial, Murray and Romans will stop at local VFWs and American Legions to answer questions and raise funds for their unique mission: to provide informal therapeutic three- to four-day getaways – at no expense to participants – that help those afflicted with PTSD by “plugging in” to the outdoors.
Hunting, fishing, kayaking, horseback riding, hiking, and the Foundation’s trademark ceremonial Fellowship Fire – an open exchange among veterans that goes no further than flames. Long-term career transition counseling rounds out RWF’s work with veterans and first responders.
Ninety percent of the funds raised through the hike – June 23-27, ending on National PTSD Day – go into funding the veterans program, the other 10 percent covers the administrative fees.
Those administrative fees will not include lodging or accommodations. The duo will be camping in parking lots and outside willing establishments along their route.
“We have had numerous organizations offer to pay for hotels for us to sleep in, however that is not our goal. We still have military members sleeping overseas in sand and dirt, we can last a couple nights in American Legion parking lots,” Murray told us.
If you’d like to join the inaugural Warrior Hike in Indiana, or to donate to the Romans Warrior Foundation cause – to assist and counsel veterans, first responders, and families of those lost to combat who struggle with PTSD, please visit the RWF website.