A local veteran is raising awareness by walking 22 miles for 22 days

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PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — A local veteran is raising awareness for veterans and active-duty military who have committed suicide during or after their time in service.

David Bulger has a unique way of fundraising, he’s doing so with no shoes on.

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“This is day seven, it’s 145 miles something along those lines,” said local veteran David Bulger.

22 veterans and one active duty member commit suicide daily.  This is Bulger’s third year bringing awareness and raising money, barefoot of course. 

“So few have died in combat and over 100,000 since the Iraqi war had commit suicide, why aren’t we talking about this,” he said.

Every step counts and Bulger’s reminded of that as he walks nearly 13 hours daily.

“Personally, I was able to down a bottle of whiskey a day, and I wasn’t even the best drinker amongst my friends in the navy,” said Bulger. “Seeing some of my friends in and out of rehab from harder drug use, the harder drugs that the VA just handed over box after box. So I’ve seen the depths of depression and where that can take people.”

But why barefoot?

“It’s a continuous reminder to, a little bit at a time, take care of yourself,” he said. “Not everything is, you know, that pain isn’t just going to go away.”

Bulger said the goal is to raise over $22,000 for the non-profit ‘End 22’.

With a documentarian and friend, Justin Moore, who join in the walk with a go pro every day, they want to make a short film to encourage more conversation to bring awareness.

“When I was a young kid I always wanted to document something,” said Moore. “I’ve always had the urge to want to make a documentary or a film. That is how I kind of got into a lot of stuff when I was younger. So when he was talking about it months ago, I instantly was inspired by it.”

Until Memorial day, Bulger will be completing 22 miles a day around Panama City Beach Conservation Park and encourages all to join him.

“I’ve done the 22 miles on a Memorial day the last two years,” he said “And to see old vets and bring their kids out here. And to even see people even just take their shoes off for a moment of silence, and grip the earth, can be really refreshing to people.”

To learn more about how to ‘End 22’ and where to donate, visit Bulger’s Facebook page.

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