ELIZABETH – A local man will ride more than 2,000 miles on horseback to raise money and awareness for wounded veterans.
Matt Littrell, of Elizabeth, is a veteran himself. He joined the Marines in 2001, prior to the 9/11 terror attacks. He served two deployments in Iraq during his service, but life after the military wasn't easy.
"We got back and since then due to DUIs and suicides and other things, we've lost almost as many people as we did overseas," Littrell said.
When Littrell returned to Colorado, he began helping his father shoe horses. Soon, he realized the horses were helping him get reacquainted with society.
"The horses have been a very important part of how I became how I am now," Littrell said. "The horses really mellow me out."
One horse in particular is really helping Littrell adjust back to civilian life. A few years ago, he adopted a mustang named Crow. Littrell says working with mustangs reminds him of his own struggle to re-adapt.
"They've had to fight for their survival just like we did," Littrell said.
On May 1, Littrell will leave for a five-month journey, riding on horseback from Surf City North Carolina to Camp Pendleton in California. Along the way, he'll raise money for the Semper Fi Fund, a non-profit helping veterans return to civilian life.
"What I'm calling the whole deal is the Long Trail Home, and it is," Littrell said. "Coming back, transitioning and rejoining society and getting right with yourself again; it's a long, long, hard trail."
Littrell has set a lofty goal of $7,000,000. So far he's raised a little more than $2,000. The Semper Fi Fund is collecting the donations on it's website - http://fundraising.semperfifund.org/fundraise?fcid=249300.
You can follow Littrell's ride on his Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Thelongtrailhome.