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    Veteran Journeying Down Mississippi River To Bring Awareness To Veterans Treatment Court
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    Veteran Journeying Down Mississippi River To Bring Awareness To Veterans Treatment Court

    August 13, 2019


    ISSUES, TOO.>>>A VETERAN HAS SET OFF ON A 2,000 MILE JOURNEY DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER TO BRING AWARENESS TO A LITTLE KNOWN PROGRAM THAT HELPS OTHER VETERANS WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH PTSD. REPORTER SHIRELLE MOORE SPOKE WITH HIM BEFORE HE HEADED OUT THIS MORNING AND TELLS US MORE ABOUT HIS CAUSE.>>Reporter: THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER STRETCHES WELL OVER 2,000 MILES. MANY HAVE MADE THE JOURNEY DOWN THE RIVER. ONE VETERAN IS DOING IT BY CANOE TO RAISE AWARENESS TO A CAUSE THAT MATTERS MOST WITH HIM.>>I’M A VETERAN WITH PTSD. I’M BETWEEN 70 TO 100% DEPENDING WHICH VA REPORT YOU READ. I GOT HELP. NOW I WANT TO GIVE OTHER VETERANS HELP.>>Reporter: HE’S ORIGINALLY FROM KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE. HE’S BRINGING HIS CANOE DOWN THE RIVER TO BRING AWARENESS.>>BACK ON THE STREET HERE, NOBODY KNOWS. WE FIND VETERANS RETURNING FROM COMBAT WITH PTSD. A LOT OF THEM HAVE SELF MEDICATED WITH ALCOHOL OR DRUGS, THEY GET INVOLVED WITH THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. WE KEEP THEM OUT OF JAIL, GET THEM A JOB, GIVE THEM A PLACE TO LIVE.>>Reporter: THEY’RE GOING TO FORM A MENTEE-MENTOR RELATIONSHIP. HE FEELS IN THE ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO REACH THEM BECAUSE HE UNDERSTANDS THEIR STRUGGLES.>>WE HAVE A JUDGE THAT GIVES THEM A CLEAN SLATE. A SECOND CHANCE FOR VETERANS. I GET A LITTLE EMOTIONAL WHEN I TALK ABOUT THIS BECAUSE I’VE SEEN IT WORK. I KNOW IT WORKS.>>Reporter: STARTING HERE AT LADIES AND GENTLEMEN BEMIDJI, HOWARD’S PLAN IS TO TAKE THE NEXT THREE DAYS TO MAKE THE CANOE TRIP DOWN TO ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA. ONCE HE’S IN ST. PAUL, THE PLAN IS TO HOP ON A PONTOON BOAT AND MAKE THE REST OF THE JOURNEY DOWN TO NEW ORLEANS.>>PROBABLY 30 DAYS TO GET TO NEW ORLEANS AND ANOTHER 30 DAYS TO GET ACROSS THE INTERCOASTAL WATERWAY INTO THE TOMBIGBEE AND THEN INTO THE TENNESSEE RIVER AND BACK OVER TO UT. WE FIGURE ANOTHER 30 DAYS FOR THAT. WE’RE GIVING OURSELVES 90 DAYS, THREE MONTHS TO DO THE WHOLE TRIP.>>Reporter: JENKINS SAYS IF ANYONE SEES THE CANOE, YOU SHOULDN’T BE AFRAID TO SAY HI. HE ALSO SAYS ANYONE WHO WANTS TO TAKE A LEG ON THE JOURNEY IS MORE THAN WELCOME TO GRAB A PADDLE.>>IF THEY WANT TO SHOW UP READY TO HIT THE ROAD WITH THE CANOE, I’LL STEP OUT. I’VE GOT SLEEPING BAGS, EVERYTHING THEY’LL NEED IN HERE>>Reporter: REPORTING IN BEMIDJI, SHIRELLE MOORE, LAKELAND NEWS.>>Dennis: JENKINS PLANS TO DOCUMENT HIS JOURNEY THROUGH HIS FACEBOOK PAGE “MISSISSIPPI RIVER BOAT VETERAN.” WE HAVE THE LINK TO HIS PAGE ON OUR WEBSITE WITH THIS STORY AT