NEWBURYPORT, Mass. (AP) — A 71-year-old Massachusetts man has embarked on a 3,600-mile, coast-to-coast walk to draw attention to the plight of military veterans.

William Shuttleworth departed his hometown of Newburyport on Wednesday for what he estimates will be a 7½-month trek to Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California. He plans to talk to veterans along the way and raise public awareness about the health care, housing and economic issues that many face.

The Air Force veteran tells The Daily News of Newburyport he was inspired while working last year at a California park where many veterans were camping because they were homeless and struggling with addiction.

He has mapped his route and plans to walk about 25 miles per day. He intends to camp because he hasn’t reserved overnight accommodations.

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Information from: The Daily News of Newburyport (Mass.), http://www.newburyportnews.com