Two-thirds of the way through her 3,117-mile journey across the United States, Seymour native Angela Hatton has returned home.
“I thought Colorado was great, but it feels so good to walk into my hometown,” Hatton said Saturday after arriving on the west side of the city on U.S. 50.
Along her journey that began in Dillon Beach, California, Hatton has met and talked with many veterans and veterans groups along with a host of others just interested in her journey.
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“This journey has restored my faith in humanity,” Hatton said. “It’s amazing to experience all the niceness people have to offer.”
Hatton is using her travel to raise awareness and funds for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Hatton said she is doing this for all of the veterans who can’t physically or mentally make the same journey.
Included in that group is her brother, Sean Hatton of Lexington. He is a veteran of both the Army and Marines and has had issues with PTSD. He was there Saturday to greet his sister as she arrived in town.
“It’s inspiring. I think she’s really demonstrating how humans can overcome hardships,” he said.
Sean said many veterans feel they can’t depend on government and the Veterans Affairs office to take care of all of their issues.
He said things have become better, but there may always be a stigma about veterans and PTSD and veterans need better care.
Sean said he started as a criminal justice major, but after seeing how fellow veterans with PTSD were struggling, he switched to social services to try to work with individuals.
Sean said he thinks his sister’s journey is essential to raising awareness for PTSD while allowing her to meet face to face with those suffering through it.
“I look up to her more because of this,” he said of his sister. “She’s my hero.”
Angela said the journey so far has been long, and at times hard. That includes an incident in Illinois when she passed out from heat exhaustion and a time in Kansas when she and her cart were struck by a car.
Despite those challenges, she said the journey has been worth it.
“I have to tell you, being homeless, carless and jobless, I’m the happiest I’ve been in my life,” she said earlier in her walk. “When you can get rid of all of the fat, the noise in your life, you just feel so connected to everything.”
Angela has journeyed along U.S. 50, called “the loneliest road in America,” and will continue her travel to Ocean City, Maryland.
She said while there have been lonely parts of her journey, the memories of the people she has met along the way stay with her.
“The first person who walked with me was a veteran who lost his legs in Iraq,” she said. “He walked with me for about 30 miles.”
As she travels, Angela tries to stop at Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts to talk with veterans she meets about their experiences and to share her own.
On Saturday, she met with veterans at American Legion Post 89 in Seymour.
She also has collected money through her travels. The cash portion goes to helping her complete her journey, while money donated to a GoFundMe page, which can be found at gofundme.com/unitethejourney, will be split between Wishes for Warriors and Warrior Expeditions, two groups that help veterans with PTSD.
Angela plans on leaving Seymour this weekend to continue her journey, which will carry her through the Appalachians toward the coast.
She said she hopes to leave a little advice for those with PTSD in the area.
“If you’re reading this and you have PTSD, get out and walk, change your usual routine,” she said.
After completing her journey to the coast, Hatton said she plans to take another walk with veterans along the Appalachian Trail before most likely heading to a biking trip in South America. She also will be working on a book, highlighting her travel experiences.
To help Angela Hatton with her cause, visit gofundme.com/unitethejourney.