A little bit of Hope goes a long way
When Army Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Van Booth set out on foot from southern California, he didn’t know HopeHealth existed. But HopeHealth’s Veterans with Hope program helped deliver a Christmas miracle after a busted cart wheel stranded Booth in Florence on Christmas Eve.
It was more than a little bump in the road on his journey from southern California to Myrtle Beach on foot. But it was a bump that HopeHealth community partner and veteran advisory council member Shawn Laurie, also known locally as “The Veteran Guy,” was able to help smooth out after being contacted through the Veterans with Hope Facebook page by Booth’s girlfriend.
That one Facebook message and a phone call later, Laurie was on his way to help. Laurie says his initial reaction was that “just another veteran in trouble,” who he is always eager to help because he believes it is his responsibility to help as many veterans as possible.
“Once I realized it was Van Booth, I was very ecstatic to meet him … I was honored to be the guy to help him,” said Laurie.
Laurie arranged for the broken cart to be stored until repaired and gave Booth a backpack for the final leg of the journey. When a donation got the cart back in working order, Laurie caught up with Booth in Myrtle Beach, and the two walked the final 10 miles together.
Booth spent 10 months walking across the country pushing a cart full of supplies to raise awareness for the 22 veterans who complete suicide every day. He started walking in California at the end of February 2019 and concluded his journey in Myrtle Beach on New Year’s Eve.
“Our Veterans with Hope program is proud to have been a part of helping Van Booth,” said Ashleigh Bryson, a project coordinator who oversees the Veterans with Hope program at HopeHealth. “This won’t be the end of the two veterans’ story though. The two will reunite April 19 at the Florence Center to raise awareness for veteran suicide with the second annual “22k for 22” ruck.”
For details on the ruck, visit the Facebook event page.