Journey with a purpose

Eli Smith’s journey across the US promotes awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans.

A man on a journey to raise awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans traveled through Chanute on his trip to visit four corners of the US.

Eli Smith started in November 2016 to hike from Pensacola, Fla., to southern California and then up the West Coast to Washington state. He currently is pedaling a Pedego electric bicycle, and began March 17 in Las Vegas, going north to Washington state. After a side trip to Wyoming, he continued east to Kansas and took another side trip to Oklahoma City.

Smith arrived in Chanute Thursday evening from Independence, then left early Friday morning with plans to reach Kansas City by Saturday afternoon. From there he will travel northeast to Maine, then back to Pensacola before going on to the Florida Keys, traveling through as many as 44 states for a total of more than 13,000 miles.

His trip from Tulsa, Okla., to Independence was hampered by five flat tires in 24 hours, and he traveled through rain between Independence and Chanute.

Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, called “shell shock” during World War I and “battle fatigue” during World War II, is blamed for suicides of up to 20 veterans a day. PTSD is not limited to those in the military. Information about the issue and about Smith’s trip is available at or where video of his trip is posted.

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