CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — A Charlottesville man is getting national recognition for his work to help veterans.
“It was a really therapeutic experience that allowed me to process and decompress,” said Sean Gobin.
Gobin says he decided to hike the Appalachian Trail, more than 2,000 miles, after getting back from his third deployment in the Marines. Gobin served in Iraq and Afghanistan during his nine years in the military.
“After a few years you start to realize that a lot of the things you experienced while you were in the military are now starting to affect your personal life,” said Gobin.
It was then Gobin says he came up with the idea for the warrior hike “Walk the War Off.”
“To do these hikes with other veterans who have been through something similar,” said Gobin.
This year he’s been named one of CNN’s Top Ten Heroes for the work he’s done with veterans.
“Typically you just put it all away and you don’t think about it until you have to,” said Gobin.
CNN awarded Gobin $10,000. That money will go toward gear for hikers, money for getting more supplies during the six-month trek, and sponsoring events along the way. Gobin is up for CNN’s hero of the year. If he wins $100,000 will go toward the organization. He says it will have a huge impact on the program, which has already seen more than 280 applications for next year. He’s hoping to expand the hiking band of brothers.
“Those veterans you hike with become life long friends and you become as close to them as you do some of your own family,” said Gobin.
Voting goes through November 15. You can vote once a day, every day until then. Just visit http://heroes.cnn.com/