Kentucky veterans, service members walk a symbolic 22 miles on Memorial Day
KENTUCKY (WKYT) - A group of veterans and members of the armed services walked from Richmond to Winchester on Memorial Day to bring awareness to veteran suicide.
It’s not an easy task to walk 22 miles with a 22-pound rucksack on your back, but, for them, they say no amount of weight or distance could keep them from raising awareness.
The group started the 7th annual ruck walk at 6 a.m. on Memorial Day in Richmond. They say the 22 miles and 22-pound backpacks symbolize the statistical average of 22 veterans who take their own lives every day.
More than 8,000 veterans per year.
Organizers say they want to break the stigma of asking for help.
Benjamin Joynt, who currently serves in the Kentucky Army National Guard, says he lost two friends to suicide and says when people see them out walking, it’s very effective.
“These are actually two people who I served with that have taken their own life, and so I’m just carrying their tags on this march. If they see us, you know, supporting them, then maybe they’ll feel like they’re a bit more connected,” said Joynt.
The walk takes about nine hours to complete. Joynt says he hopes this reaches the right person and that no one should ever be afraid to ask for help.
There is a veterans crisis line. You can dial 9-8-8 then press 1 for help. Or you can text 8-3-8-2-5-5.
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