GREEN BAY (NBC26) - Every day, 20 veterans commit suicide in the U.S according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. To help those who serve and protect our country, more than 1,000 people took to the Fox River Trail.
"When somebody commits suicide, that pain for that person is gone, but that pain is magnified 10-fold, if not 100-fold for everybody else that was in that veterans life,” said veteran Jordan Leitsch. He was a sergeant in the Marines.
To help the men and women who serve and protect our country, the 7th Annual Veterans Suicide Awareness Ruck March raises money to help veterans who are suffering from mental illness. They also help with programming to give veterans a better opportunity at transitioning back into civilian life.
"Years ago when we first started this, the statistic was at 22 veterans that were completing suicide a day,” said event committee member Chelsea Kocken. “A few years ago that number did come out to the VA to be at 20. So of course it’s come down. Too many to go, and that's why we continue to do this event, we want to get that number to zero."
Saturday, people had the option to walk 20 miles or 2.0 miles, and carry 20 pounds if they were able to. It’s to help people put themselves in a veteran’s shoes, Kocken said.
"Every person out there has a story. Veterans have a hard time sharing that story which is why it's so hard for them to seek the help for themselves,” Leitsch said. “You're watching the ruck today at home, you're participating in the ruck today, it's something to remind you that there's people out there that need your help even if they’re not asking for it."
The 4th H.O.O.A.H. Wisconsin put together Saturday’s walk. You can find out more about their mission and services, here.