Former Marine paddles away 2 tours in Afghanistan

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VENICE, La. (AP) — A Marine has completed his trip in a canoe all the way down the Mississippi River, from Minnesota to Louisiana.

Two tours in Afghanistan took a toll on Joshua Ploetz. He was injured by a roadside bomb and lost friends to combat and suicide.

When the Winona, Minnesota, resident returned from the war eight years ago, he was coping with post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD, the fallout from a minor stroke and other injuries.

But Ploetz says he found direction when he began his 71-day trek to the Gulf of Mexico. He spent 49 of those days paddling 2,300 miles; the remainder was spent resting.

The finish was bittersweet. He said: "I want to be done, but I want more river to paddle."

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