On the morning of December 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. It was a devastating attack that emboldened many Americans to help our Nation. The next morning, 3 brothers walked 30 miles From Raywick, KY to Lebanon, KY to sign up to fight.
All the brothers were separated and sent to different locations. Joseph Leake spent most of the war in the Pacific ocean supplying our troops in the Army. After the war ended, all of the brothers survived and returned home to begin a life working in factories.
Years went by and Joseph suffered from depression and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In 1980, Joseph committed suicide.
Joseph Leake’s grandson, Troy Yocum grew up not fully understanding why his grandfather would think that suicide was the only way out. After joining the Army and deploying to Iraq, Yocum came to realize that his friends were experiencing similar issues that his grandfather had. Yocum decided to make it his personal mission to help struggling veterans and their family members to reduce veteran suicide numbers.
Yocum came up with a plan to raise awareness and funds to help military families by hiking across America. He began the 17-month journey, dubbed the “Hike for Heroes”, on April 17, 2010 and finished more than 7,800 miles across 37 states on September 3rd, 2011. Yocum became the first veteran to ever walk the length of 3 times across America and was awarded the Citizen Honors Medal by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. The hike garnered national attention for veteran suicide awareness and funds for military families.
In 2012, Troy met Justin Fitch, a U.S. Army combat infantry veteran who served in Iraq, who often talked about struggling with post traumatic stress disorder and depression after returning home to work. He fought a personal battle with suicide and sought help from veterans which began his journey with hiking events and shooting competitions. Eventually, Justin decided that he wanted to live and be an inspiration to veterans who also struggle. After everything that Justin endured, he was surprisingly diagnosed with terminal cancer. Despite deteriorating health conditions, he fought to live his life to the fullest and enjoyed his retirement while dedicating what time he could to support veterans. Justin will always be remembered for his final Mission to help his fellow warriors and his inspiration to the nation.
Over the next decade Troy Yocum helped more than 50,000 veterans through charities and programs designed to reduce veteran suicide in every state while working to keep Justin Fitch’s mission alive. Troy would later combine forces with other veterans including Justin Fitch’s brother to create a new charity.
Now the mission continues with Warrior Battalion!
- Healing Events – Free events, seminars and Team Leader trainings for every state.
- Peer mentors, business partners and resources in every state
- Retreat Homes designed to provide healing vacations for military families.