'Bastards' Road' follows veteran's 5,800-mile walk across US to bring attention to mental health

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Thursday, May 13, 2021
'Bastards' Road' highlights needs for mental health help for vets
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Documentary "Bastards' Road" takes a hard look at PTSD, suicide and hopefully healing for vets. Marine Jon Hancock spent 15 months walking 5,800 miles, visiting Marines from his battalion and families of those brothers who didn't make it home alive.

HOLLYWOOD -- There is an eye-opening new documentary that takes us on a journey with a Marine combat veteran. It takes a hard look at PTSD, suicide and, most importantly, healing.

The film "Bastards' Road" features a Maryland man walking across the country. Jon Hancock spent 15 months walking 5,800 miles, visiting both fellow Marines from his battalion and families of those brothers who didn't make it home alive.

During his eight years in the Marine Corps, Hancock did battle in Iraq. In 2016, he was battling something else: PTSD. His cross-country journey became a life-saving event...now chronicled in the documentary, "Bastards' Road."

"Had I not taken this walk and had I not really started to learn about self-accountability right now and really holding myself to task, I wouldn't be where I am right now," said Hancock.

"It was Jon's journey and we find it an incredible--incredibly intimate portrait of him, first and foremost," said Brian Morrison, the director and producer of "Bastards' Row."

In 2019, the Department of Veterans Affairs said 60,000 vets died by suicide between 2008 and 2017. Hancock, in his darkest hour, was almost one of them.

"I had emptied a medicine cabinet full of pills into my stomach and then drove myself to the Baltimore V.A. following a second DUI," said Hancock.

During Hancock's journey, you also hear the stories of his Marine brothers, many of whom have also struggled.

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"We wanted it to be unfiltered. We wanted it to be as raw as it needed to be," said Morrison. "We wanted it to come from the mouths of these guys in whatever way they were comfortable in providing, you know, that to me. So we were kind of an open ear."

Hancock was healing step by step. Today, life is good. He's now passing on his war wisdom to help other military members. He's even started a non-profit dedicated to taking vets on long distance hikes to help heal the wounds of war.

During his own walk, when food wasn't really available--how did he keep going?

"In those really expanses where there's nothing, I would carry a tub of butter-flavored Crisco and then I would carry a flat of tortillas and a little bag of brown sugar and I called them my fat roll-ups. And then I would just smear fat," said Hancock. "It was absolutely horrible but it was rocket fuel!"

"Bastards' Road" is available now on digital, on demand and on DVD.