Craig man to walk over Rabbit Ears Pass to raise PTSD awareness | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig man to walk over Rabbit Ears Pass to raise PTSD awareness

Eleanor C. Hasenbeck

William Montgomery, left, and Tracy Santistevan walked about 17 miles from Craig to Hayden to raise awareness for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries in 2017. This year, they're walking over Rabbit Ears pass to raise awareness.

CRAIG — Last year, Will Montgomery woke one Saturday morning and decided to walk about 17 miles from Craig to Hayden to raise awareness for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. At 3 a.m. May 5, Montgomery will again start walking to raise awareness for PTSD and traumatic brain injury, but this year, he's upping the challenge — in elevation, length and fundraising.

Montgomery plans to walk from the chain-up pull-off at the western base of Rabbit Ears Pass to the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Colorado Highway 14, then turn around a walk back over the pass again to the same spot. The route is about 40 miles long.

In conjunction with the walk, Montgomery is raising money to support the Veterans of Foreign Wars' Comrade in Need Fund, which provides assistance to veterans dealing with financial hardship.

Last year, as people learned what he was doing, a handful handed him cash as he walked the shoulder of U.S. 40. He accidentally raised $1,000, which he gave to Craig native Cory Hixson, who struggled with PTSD after being injured by an explosion in Iraq. That success inspired Montgomery to make a more concerted effort to raise funds this year.

Motivated by the clarity he finds in exercise, Montgomery said he is partnering with the VFW and Trapper Fitness to provide two veterans a three-month membership to Trapper Fitness.

Montgomery served in the U.S. Army for a little more than 18 years. He was honorably discharged with a diagnosis of PTSD and traumatic brain injury. He was inspired to walk last year in solidarity Hixson.

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"The overall mission is to let veterans know they're not alone," Montgomery said.

Montgomery also welcomes support in the form of sponsorships from business owners and moral support at checkpoints along his route.

People can also participate in the walk themselves, as long as they sign a waiver that they are healthy enough to do so. Anybody who wants to walk is invited to train with Montgomery every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning at the Moffat County High School track.

To contribute or for more information, call Montgomery at 970-875-4233.