Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.

Local man hiking Appalachian Trail to raise awareness for homeless veterans

Appalachian National Scenic TrailFacebook

Army veteran Zach Day is taking a hike for a cause. He's taking on the Appalachian Trail, one of the toughest hiking trails in the world.

Day served in Operation Enduring Freedom from July 2011 to July 2012. He said he met many fellow servicemen and women who had a hard time adjusting back to life at home.

Some of those challenges can lead to drug and acohol abuse, family troubles and homelessness, Day explained. That's what inspired him to start raising money for Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation of Indiana.

"I love interacting witth these guys, I just met most of them a couple of weeks ago. They are making strides to turn their lives around," Day said.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 200,000 veterans are homeless nationwide. HVAF of Indiana provides housing and recovery programs to help veterans battling addiction.

Day will embark on his hike June 11th and it will take him five months to trek the 2,200 miles.

He's encouraging fans of his mission to follow him online or visit his Facebook page for more information.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun