Marine veteran TShane Johnson will be in Northeast Florida next week as part of this year’s Hike Across America to raise awareness for the needs of veteran.
He covers between 12 and 22 miles a day while carrying a 100-pound backpack. This year he started on Sept. 11 at Ground Zero in New York City, and he’s made his way down the East Coast of the United States.
His first stop in Northeast Florida comes Tuesday, the day after Veterans Day. He’ll speak to Naval Station Mayport, then two days later he’ll be speaking at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
He says it takes a lot to be a leader and it’s not always glamorous. But whether it’s in the military or in civilian life, leaders are vital now matter what you’re looking to accomplish, Johnson says.
“It’s just a responsibility that you don’t get to put down,” Johnson says. “That’s the whole purpose of the 100 pounds [that he carries], it’s the burden of leadership.
He says he survived near-death experiences three different times. He was also homeless for two years.
Telling his inspirational story at each stop along the way, Johnson says the response has been tremendous.
“It’s been so much to the point to where these naval stations and these big military communities are opening their arms saying ‘come in here and do what you’ve got to do,’” Johnson says. “So it’s definitely needed and people are respecting it.”