CT man hikes Appalachian Trail to raise awareness - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT man hikes Appalachian Trail to raise awareness

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WFSB talks with Phil Valentine as he hikes the Appalachian Trail to inspire others. (WFSB) WFSB talks with Phil Valentine as he hikes the Appalachian Trail to inspire others. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A Connecticut husband and father is becoming an inspiration to strangers.

Phil Valentine is walking more than 2,000 miles and changing lives, one step at a time.

Valentine is walking the Appalachian Trail and that included a stop at home on Monday where he got a hero's welcome.

The weather has battered Valentine as he treks along the Appalachian Trail.

He began the 2,185 mile journey in Georgia back in March and has already lost 50 pounds.

On Monday, he stopped at work as his walk brought him home through Connecticut.

"I'm physically fit, I'm emotionally clear, I'm spiritually well-connected,” Valentine said. “I'm so grateful to be with my family, even for a few short days.”

Valentine is the executive director of Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery, where they help people stay in recovery.

He’s a recovering addict himself and five-year cancer survivor, who took a leave from work to walk and raise awareness.

"My whole goal was just to start and for me to have come almost 1,500 miles is almost a miracle,” Valentine said.

"The cancer especially, that really scared us five-years ago, so to see him so healthy and looking so wonderful and being so alive, I'm just delighted,” Deb Dettor of Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery said.

Valentine’s coworkers said they couldn't be prouder of what he's doing and enduring.

He’s traveled more than 1,400 miles so far. Online, he's posting videos of his journey complete with snakes and more than a dozen bear sightings.

Valentine pushes himself every day to let people know addiction and cancer shouldn't stop anyone.

"But what I've thought about is that I want to leave a legacy that people in recovery from alcohol and other addiction,” Valentine said. “People in recovery from cancer, we do survive and we go on to do extraordinary things."

Valentine heads back out of town on the Appalachian Trail on Tuesday morning.

He is writing about his journey on his blog. Click here to read the latest post.  

You can follow his journey on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

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