KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Ken Brock is still walking.
The U.S. Army veteran who found solace from his post-traumatic stress by walking from Amvets Post 86 to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, to create awareness to the PTSD programs at Wounded Warrior Project, has slowed down to a meandering pace of just 10 miles a day. Only now, it’s just to stay busy.
And to stay in shape for another possible cross-country trek.
“I have to be doing something,” Brock said. “I’m not going to fall back into that trap of sitting around.”
Brock started his improbable journey on Feb. 1 with a goal to arrive in Northern Idaho in time to be with his children and grandchildren for the town’s Fourth of July parade. He walked through two deadly tornadoes, rain, snow and massive flooding, but he was met at the city limits by his son, Arek, nearly a week ahead of schedule. Video of the two embracing on the side of the road went viral on social media.
Brock met thousands of fans along the way. He was stopped 20 times a day by motorists who heard his story. He got police escorts through town and was at most county lines by flashing lights and support.
Television crews and newspaper reporters waited along the route.
And he rarely had to pick up a dinner check.
Two months removed from a journey that spanned more than 2,650 miles, Brock has filled the void by taking charge of security at his Amvets post.
He’s moved into a house and found a balance that is another piece of his recovery from years of stress from working as a military police investigator.
“I feel good,” Brock said. “I’m on my own. I’m working. I’m still walking. Things are going good for me. I’m happy.”
Brock has done an about-face on his desire to make another trip for WWP. He admitted he’s ready to hit the road again.
“I think this time I’ll go to Maine,” he said. “I don’t know when, but it’s something I’m thinking about.”
The walk to Idaho was overwhelming. From the start, Brock admitted he wasn’t emotionally or physically prepared to spend more than five months sleeping in tents and dodging traffic with his support dog, Pam.
By attracting so much attention, he knew he couldn’t turn back. By the time he got to Nebraska, doubt and fatigue were replaced by a determination that fueled each step.
“I’ve got the bug again,” Brock said. “I miss being on the road. When I got to Coeur d’Alene people kept asking me if I was going to do another walk. I said no because I’ve already done it. But now I know I can do it.”
Brock wants to hug the coastline to avoid the rolling hills and mountains that presented difficult challenges in his walk to Idaho. And by going to Maine, Brock can make a stop at Washington, D.C., to make sure his message is heard by politicians.
“I’m going to D.C. to let my face and voice be heard,” he said. “These programs for veterans are important. I’m not going to let them forget it.”
Brock once was troubled by nightmares and thoughts of suicide. His 2,650-mile mission to Idaho was cathartic. It was a trip of self-discovery.
Buoyed the success of his trip to the Northwest, Brock doesn’t want his message, or his recovery, to be forgotten.
So he will keep walking.