MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A former Navy SEAL is close to completing his mighty mission to honor veterans.

Chris Ring was in Minnesota at Lake Itasca at the headwaters of the Mississippi River five months ago. His goal is to swim the entire length of the river.

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The decorated combat veteran swims every day, except Sundays. Ring says the water is cold, but he is proud to prove his doubters wrong.

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“If I’m having a terrible day on the river, you know, it’s going to be over in however many hours. But these families have to live with their pain and suffering and their burden for the rest of their lives,” Ring said. “I feel humbled and privileged to do it.”

A kayak filled with messages of gratitude for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice leads Ring down the river.

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He swims 14 to 20 miles a day and expects to finish early next month.