GAINESVILLE, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - A young military veteran is doing something really big to call attention to the suicide problem among veterans. Dustin Johnson is running around the world alone.
Johnson believes his 16,300-mile run over seven continents will take him about 600 days.
He left his home in Missouri May 1, he's now close to 600 miles into his journey and is running across North Georgia.
Johnson spent four years in the Navy. Each step he takes is for his military brothers and sisters. His run is dedicated to suicide awareness and prevention in the military.
"The veteran suicide rate is insane in this country. 22 veterans commit suicide a day and one active military [member] commits suicide every day," said Johnson.
He admits it can get lonely and he carries a book with the signatures of everyone who has helped him along the way. Among those on the list, names of Cherokee County deputies. Johnson met them when he stopped at Veterans Park in Canton over the weekend. The next morning, deputies gave him a police escort.
Johnson said the hardest part so far has been the weather.
"The heat in Georgia has been really hard on me. I also went through some strong storms in Kentucky. tornado sirens going off, hailing and raining, super strong winds," said Johnson.
Johnson knows there will be many more challenges ahead, but he says he won't stop. He's doing it because 22 is too many.
"I figured this was the best chance to give back to the community and have a God-given ability to do something amazing," said Johnson.
When Johnson makes it around the world, he'll be the first American and, at 24 years old, the youngest person to do it.