Local soldier back home after walking across the U.S. with message about veteran suicide, PTSD

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SEATTLE -- A local soldier is back home this morning after walking more than 3,000 miles across the U.S. It's all part of a mission to spotlight suicide and PTSD in the military.

Jimmy Novak flew into Sea-Tac Airport from Florida last night after his five-month-long trip. He started his journey on March 22 from his home in Dupont. He blogged his journey online, posting pictures along the way. He said he walked 22 miles every day to make it to Disneyworld in Florida on August 22.

In his blog, Novak, 42, says he spent the last 21 years serving the nation as a member of the U.S. Army Chemical Corps. Since then, he says he's struggled with thoughts of suicide and has seen the effects of PTSD on his friends. Looking back, Novack says it's possible he could have been one of the 20 vets who die by suicide each day, but says he is one of the lucky ones.

"I believe many people have that perception that they want to maintain the tough guy persona," Novak said. "But really, we all struggle from time to time and there is no shame in seeking help because you can't really do things on your own. It takes a community and you need that support."

Now that he's back, Novak says he will spend time with his family and even start writing a book about his journey.

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