Watch CBS News

Veterans combat feelings of isolation with flag-carrying relay through nine states

Veterans participate in 9-state relay
Veterans participate in nine-state relay 02:11

Every year, more than 250,000 Americans transition from active duty to civilian life. Sometimes, that comes with feelings of isolation and loneliness.

For the series "Honoring our Heroes," CBS News spoke to former service members trying to change that one mile at a time.

For Army veteran Christina Barreras, what looks like a solo pursuit has never felt more collaborative. Berreras said she "started to fall into deeper depression and isolation" after leaving the service. A feeling many others have expressed after leaving the military. 

It's the reason more than 1,100 veterans have joined the support group Team Red, White and Blue for a Stars and Stripes-carrying relay. It began on September 11 in New York and is making its way across nine states, finishing 2,500 miles later in Atlanta on Veterans Day.

"Team Red, White and Blue's mission really is to help foster that sense of community that we felt when we were on active duty and that often leave behind when we transition to the civilian world," executive director Mike Erwin said.

The flag has been run through downpours, rural forests, Pennsylvania farm fields, across a high school stadium, and past the Jefferson Memorial.

Barreras said the relay is the start of her new chapter.

"To get back into that connection, that camaraderie, and get back to being driven and having purpose again," she said.

CBS News wants to know about a veteran in your life. Use #HonoringOurHeroes to send us your pictures and tell us why that person is your hero. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.