Kentucky veterans march to raise awareness of veteran suicide

Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 6:49 AM EDT
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PARIS, Ky. (WKYT) - A group of walkers is dedicating a 22-mile hike to raising awareness towards veterans who die after war.

Organizers say it’s their way of adding to the meaning of Memorial Day.

Around 9 o’clock Monday morning, the group started their 22-mile hike around the Paris bypass. The number 22 is symbolic. Organizers tell us that’s the same number of veterans who take their lives every single day.

“You hear stories about people who die in combat, you know they pass in combat and they die for the freedoms that we all have,” said Army veteran Lane Goff. “What they don’t hear about are the people who don’t die in combat and come home with PTSD and anxiety and depression and severe problems psychologically.”

Goff served for eight years and he tells us that the march is about more than just remembering the fallen.

“We’re not belittling the ones who fell in combat, but we’re adding to them. We want everybody to understand that it’s not just combat that we lose our soldiers and our airmen and our seamen and our marines too,” Goff said. “We lose them to the battle within. The back of our shirts say fighting unseen wars and that’s what we’re trying to bring awareness to.”

Goff says that many people understand the problems that veterans face when they return home, but not many people truly know the scope.

“People know about veteran suicide, but they don’t know that there’s 22 a day,” Goff said. “We wanted to do something like this in Paris to allow our community to understand there are veterans in your community that are struggling with this.”

Officials are hoping to do more walks like this for other events honoring soldiers, fire, and police as well.

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