A Contractor and Her Dog

Kayaking down river through nine states.
One woman is trying to spread awareness about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and she stopped right here in Marietta.

Mary Southerland was diagnosed with PTSD this past January after years of Contracting in Iraq.

Now she is dealing with her fears by traveling by kayak down river through nine states, starting in Pittsburgh.

10 days into her journey so far, Southerland says the river has been a blessing as much as it is challenging.

She says she wants to create awareness for the Purple Heart and those 22 veterans who commit suicide every day.

"I am pedaling and sailing for purple star veterans and families, and to sign a petition to have the president recognize or comment on the 22 veteran suicides a day. Hopefully, we can get them better care and by getting them better care we can address everyone that comes home from war like contractors and other civilians as well," said Southerland.

Her service dog Henry joins her on the kayak when the water isn't too rough. She has a vehicle that is following her on land.

She says it will take a total 54 days. She kayaks 5 to 10 hours a day and rests every Sunday.


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