Their days in the Marine Corps have passed, but Joe Barletta and Michael Dreisch are still marching.
The duo passed through Warren County on Monday during their travels across Pennsylvania. Dreisch drives a car in support while Barletta walks along Rt. 6.
They have a goal of raising awareness and support for Hunts for Healing and other veterans issues. Hunts for Healing provides a variety of outdoor activities for veterans.
Times Observer photo by Colin Kyler
Joe Barletta, foreground, walks down Rt. 6 while Michael Dreisch, background, looks on. The two are traveling across Pennsylvania to raise awareness of veterans issues.
According to Dreisch, the program operates in the northeast part of the state and allows veterans to feel better. It also shows there is life after combat, he said.
Hunts for Healing is non-profit, Dreisch said. It also relies solely on volunteers.
On average, Dreisch said, 76 veterans attempt suicide every day. Of those 76, he said, 16 succeed.
"People don't understand Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder," Barletta said. "Troops need help when they get home."
Barletta, now 65, served in Vietnam while Dreisch, 42, served in the Gulf War and Somalia. They began their journey on May 1 at the Ohio border.
There remains 274 miles ahead and Barletta estimated it would take another 16 days. Normally, he said, they can travel 20 miles each day.
"Weather hasn't been on our side," Barletta said. "We'll have to make it up as we go."
People can follow the progress on the Hunts for Healing Facebook page or at www.huntsforhealing.org. Anybody who is or knows a post-9/11 veteran is urged to contact Hunts for Healing at 570-869-1233 or Dreisch at Mdreisch@huntsforhealing.org or 570-250-3732.
"You don't like to rub it in people's faces, but we're the courageous ones," Barletta said. "It's not always about the battles but the people you're there for."