Ron’s Story

A former Marine, Ron Zaleski decided in 1972 to stop wearing shoes as a memorial to the friends he lost in the Vietnam War. He held on to a tremendous amount of guilt and anger. Decades after his military service, when people asked why he didn’t wear shoes, he often replied defensively. His answer most days was “Because I don’t feel like it, you got a problem with that?”. The memorial Ron created became hollow, and he realized that holding onto anger was helping nobody. This all changed in 2005, when a life-changing experience made him realize he was just creating more problems, not solving them.

In 2006, Ron founded The Long Walk Home and to create awareness to the Veteran suicide crisis and heal the moral injury that exists within so many veterans. That same year, he walked the Appalachian Trail barefoot not just as a memorial to his fallen brother, but also to heal the wound within himself. In 2010 he upped the stakes, walking barefoot across the country while carrying a sign that read “18 VETS A DAY COMMIT SUICIDE”. The next year, he brought a petition to Washington with the goal of providing mandatory grief counseling for military personnel. Roughly 20,000 supporters had signed the petition by the time he presented it. Ron continues to be of service in any way he can and is forever committed to helping Veterans and their families readjust to civilian life. His sacrifice and dedication to service is the embodiment of what The Long Walk Home stands for.

If you would like to book Ron Zaleski for an event for a speaking engagement contact Ron at:

Phone: (305) 399-5354

Ron’s Latest Journals

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What am I supposed to learn

What am I supposed to learn

When I feel the need to attack someone, I have to ask myself, what am I not seeing, what am I afraid of and what am I supposed to learn from this? I...

Love without fear

Love without fear

When you understand that you are never alone, that is when you can have love without fear.

Guilt is a funny thing

Guilt is a funny thing

Guilt is a funny thing, no matter how much you try to atone for it, it never goes away, but when you realize you made a mistake, then it can be...

How close are you to the edge?

If you’re standing on the edge you’re taking up too much space; jump. How many great things were never done or seen because of fear and how many...

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