BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – After almost a decade in the military, one veteran found himself in a financial pinch and on the verge of homelessness.
Now, Shane Moore is on a different kind of tour to help other veterans.
“I combined a hike that I wanted to do with something that’s gonna be for others,” Moore said.
He left Jacksonville, Florida three weeks ago on his journey to San Diego, California.
Monday, Moore made it to Panama City where he has family he plans to stay with for a little bit.
The trip is to raise $25,000 for homeless veterans.
Moore served in the Navy. He says he understands what it’s like to fall on hard times.
“I ended up burning through my savings and I was really close to being homeless myself,” Moore explained.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in 2015 more than 3,900 homeless veterans lived in Florida.
In 2016, the number dropped to 2,900.
Across the country more than 39,000 veterans are homeless.
Panama City Rescue Mission officials say on average, they see about three to four veterans every day.
“About 13 to 15 percent of our clients are veterans at any given time throughout the year,” Lisa Nixon Mabry, Communications Coordinator with the Panama City Rescue Mission said.
The Rescue Mission offers transitional work programs and addiction recovery programs.
“We help in whatever way that we can for anybody who falls into that category of falling on hard times and needing help,” Mabry said.
Though it may not be an easy journey, Moore says he’s determined to keep trekking until he reaches his destination.
“Even if it’s five dollars, a dollar, anything helps and anything matters at the end,” Moore said. “Getting towards the goal.”