Jockey’s Ridge State Park marked the first and final steps — and some of the hardest — of an Army veteran’s out-and-back, or “yo-yo,” of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

Michael Boncek has logged about 2,000 miles so far on his journey to raise awareness of the reported American veteran suicide rate and money toward building homes for disabled veterans.

When he embarked from Jockey’s Ridge in March, Boncek recalled wearing full winter gear to protect against a biting wind.

That was in sharp contrast to Saturday’s 12.5-mile hike from the Cape Hatteras National Seashore with the heat index climbing to 105.

A former Army sergeant with the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment “Iron Rakkasans,” Boncek, 40, completed two tours in Iraq and suffers from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The former mine detection specialist said he was exposed to explosions several times during his years of service from 2004 to 2012. His TBI causes him to go temporarily blind in his left eye two to three times a week, he said.


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