Walk to raise awareness of veterans’ issues passing through Wood County this week


Buddy Watch Walk - Pier to Pier will be making its way through Wood County Jan. 8-11.

John Ring, serving in the Georgia Army National Guard, began the walk on Oct. 1 at Tybee Island Pier in Georgia.

By the time he walks across the country to Santa Monica Pier in California, Ring will have walked 2,462 miles to raise awareness of veterans’ issues and to raise funds for Buddy Watch, Inc.

Before beginning the walk, retired Army veteran Jimmy Matthews reached out to Ring about joining him in walking across Mississippi on his way to Santa Monica.

In Pearl, Matthews met up with Ring and made the decision to walk all the way.

Ring’s passion is to bring awareness to battles that many veterans face such as PTSD, homelessness, unemployment and addiction. These issues, when left unresolved, often lead to suicide.

Roughly 22 veterans commit suicide daily. 

While walking to raise awareness, Ring and Matthews are also raising funds for Buddy Watch, Inc. based in Midway, Ga. 

Buddy Watch recognizes that emotional wounds of veterans cannot heal until their basic needs are met. The money raised will help build a tiny home community for veterans who have fallen on hard times and become homeless. 

Coastal Family Counseling in Midway has donated property, and plans for single veteran 800 square foot homes and 1,200 square foot homes for single veterans with children are beginning.

The community members will play active roles in the further development and operation of the community, and veteran volunteers will help with paperwork to secure earned benefits. A mental health clinic will also be onsite to provide veterans with counseling. 

Ring and Matthews will be arriving in Hawkins on the Jan. 8.

They’ll walk from Hawkins to Mineola on the 9th, rest for a day in Mineola, and then continue to Grand Saline on the 11th.

They welcome all to join them as they walk across the county.

To learn more about the walk, visit www.wheresjohnring.com or follow their progress at www.facebook.com/buddywatchwalk.