A Virginia man is making it his mission to walk across the country, spreading the word about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"I started seeing these young veterans come home, veterans that are the same age as my son. That’s when I got slapped," said David Dibble, a 58-year-old Navy veteran.
He has battled posttraumatic stress disorder and seen others much younger than him deal with it too.
"It’s something that distorts time. You’re agitated. You have startle reflexes where a truck goes by and just hits their air brakes. Someone walks up behind you and you're not aware that they're there," Dibble said.
He has seen much of the United States throughout his life but now he is seeing it in a different way. Dibble is walking across the country, from Washington D.C. to California, on a mission.
He wants active duty military members, veterans and civilians to know the truth about PTSD.
"It’s an exhaustion that takes hold of you because you're always on guard," Dibble said.
He has experienced military members resisting help for PTSD out of pride and he wants to change that mentality.
Right now, American Legion Post 13 in Clarksburg is hosting him before he takes the rail trails out west.
Post Commander Michael Greaver said he knows the severity of the issue locally and nationally.
"We’re losing an average of 22 service members a day to PTSD suicide,” Greaver said.
Post member Nevelle Simpson gave Dibble a place to shower and re-group before he heads back out. Simpson said he has lost several friends to suicide due to PTSD and he wants to help prevent that from happening to others.
Greaver said helping Dibble along the way is the right thing to do.
"One thing about West Virginia, we have a big heart and we're happy to know David and assist him," Greaver said.
When asked why he chose to walk across the country to share his message, Dibble said he knows it is going to be hard but it would not feel right without him experiencing physical pain himself.
"I’m hoping to meet a lot of vets and say 'you know what? It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to open up to somebody and say what's on your mind',” Dibble explained.
To learn more about David Dibble’s journey across the country, click here.