DES MOINES, Iowa -- Across the nation on Saturday, veterans and civilians participated in the Run As One, bringing focus to some important issues facing those who serve in America's military.
The run raises awareness for PTSD and some lesser-known struggles vets face after coming home.
"Exercise in general is great for mental health," said Nicholas McGahan, Des Moines chapter captain for Team Red, White, and Blue, an organization of veterans and civilians on a mission to help soldiers returning from combat deal with PTSD and the culture shock of civilian life. This is a struggle McGahan knows well.
"Going from the same group of 180 guys that I saw every day, day after day and served with, to just being on my own was a real struggle that took me a couple of years to deal with, and at the time I didn't deal with it the most appropriate way until I started finding organizations like this that helped build me a support structure I could draw on," he said.
Non-vets like Nathen Fosenburg say it is a way to give back to those who have given so much.
"I have a lot of family members and a lot of friends who are veterans, so it seemed like the right thing to do to get involved and become part of it," said Fosenburg. "They come home and then they have to be fathers and mothers and family members again, and that's hard for them to do."
Some who are currently serving here at home came out to show support for their brothers and sisters who served overseas.
"I don't know most of these guys' stories, but, you know, you don't have to know 'em because we're all serving for that one purpose. We're a team of one because we're all in the military. Some have served some are still serving, so yeah, it's pretty awesome," said Scott Smith, who served in the Air National Guard.
The run is held to honor Marine veteran Clay Hunt, who took his life after suffering from PTSD.