Local business opens doors to help veteran on a trek across the U.S.
LAS VEGAS (KSNV NEWS3LV) —
A veteran is making his way around the country to bring awareness to PTSD, trekking 13,000 miles from corner to corner. He's in Las Vegas right now, and local businesses are opening their doors for his cause.
Jackson's off Flamingo and Jones hosted Eli Smith and a group of local veterans Thursday night. Owner Brian Slipock said it's the least he can do. He wanted the group to enjoy themselves, offering carte-blanche. "It's off the menu, they can have anything from a burger, steak, chicken, breakfast, they might have appetizers," said Slipock.
Slipock said when he heard Smith was hiking around the country, he just wanted to do something to show his appreciation for the cause and for locals who've served.
"We just want to give back to the vets that put their life on the line to help us be free and safe," he said.
Smith said he can't believe how helpful everyone has been along the way. "This is an American issue and everyone is rallying around that and coming together."
He said he sold all of his belongings to make money for the trek, which will take about four years. "Now this hike is totally funded by donations from the local community." He set off in November 2016, crossing the southern half of the United States first. In all, he'll walk about 13,000 miles. "I plan to hike to all four corners of the continental U.S.," he said. "No one has ever done it before and I was looking for something like that."
Smith said it hasn't always been an easy journey, though. "There's nothing that's going to happen to me in any situation that's going to stop this hike," he told us.
It takes perseverance and a lot of community support, which Slipock is happy to provide. "We just wanted to give back."