When the going gets tough, John Ulstrom keeps going.
Ulstrom began his walk from his Desdemona home to Washington D.C. on Sept. 16 to advocate better treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder among the nation's military.
Today, Ulstrom has reached the Northeast Arkansas town of Melbourne. Although the weather has improved as he has traveled north, the miles he has walked have taken a toll.
"I had to take a few days off and recover from all the walking," Ulstrom said Thursday.
After walking almost 600 miles, Ulstrom's feet became badly blistered.
After the break, Ulstrom continued with renewed energy.
"This trip is about raising awareness. I am so happy that the message is getting this much exposure," Ulstrom said.
Ulstrom has now been featured in nine newspapers, and on three television stations and two radio stations. The Empire-Tribune has been with him since the beginning and will continue to follow Ulstrom all the way to the steps of the Capital Building.
Our Forgotten Warriors, a Washington-based nonprofit organization, has been helping schedule meetings with lawmakers along the way.
"I spoke with Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln by phone. She wanted to know how she could help," Ulstrom said.
He told her to schedule meetings with her colleagues.
The TravelCenters of America truck stops have provided multiple meals and overnight accommodations since he has been in Arkansas. Other churches and organizations have been helpful as well.
"I'm enjoying the trip but can't wait to cross the next state line. It will put me that much closer to D.C.," Ulstrom said.