A local soldier is running across the country

A Fort Benning soldier is heading home to Indiana and running all the way there.

Corporal Cory Smith has served four years in the Army and deployed twice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Now, as he is hanging up his uniform, he wants to raise awareness for the struggles facing veterans.

Smith is lacing up his running shoes and getting ready for a 565 mile cross country trip from Columbus to Indianapolis.  He says he has been training for months.

"I starting off running five miles a day.  The next thing you know, I went to 10 then to 15 and you know, I've just been just been trying to stay as physically fit as possible," said Smith.

On Tuesday, the Fort Benning Ranger is ending his four year service in the Army.  Then, he's running home to his 18 month old daughter Elleigh.

He hopes his journey also will bring awareness to the struggles facing veterans like homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide.

"They're facing challenges: facing challenges of how they are going to find a job.  How they are going to support their family.  How they are going to re-integrate into the civilian sector," said Smith.

The soldier and father understands these kinds of challenges.  He says, recently, his marriage failed.  His wife now lives across the country in Indiana with their little girl.

"She's my world.  You know, if somebody asked me, 'What are you good at in life?'  I'm good at being a father.  I care about her more than anything else, and these past three months of her being away from me has really put a damper on my days."

Smith is teaming up with a non-profit organization GallantFew, Inc. that helps veterans cope with life after the military.

He will be running 20 miles a day, starting at his apartment in Columbus, through Chattanooga, Tennessee, Louisville, Kentucky, and ending in Indianapolis.  It is a journey he says should take about 28 days.

He encourages anyone who would like to join him, run or walk, just hit the road.

"I'm hoping to say here come on out.  Show a veteran that you support them."

Smith will start running Tuesday at 1:30pm at the entrance of The Links apartment complex on Stadium Drive in Columbus.  He plans to pursue his masters degree and find a job once he is in Indianapolis.

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