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Group "Rucks" To Raise Awareness On Veteran Suicide

Group Click to Enlarge Photo: Steven Coursolle (KNSI)

Apr 17, 2017 at 5:45 am

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - Veterans and their families walked nearly eight miles on Saturday, to raise awareness about the high rate of suicide among veterans.

David Peters is a 12 year Veteran of the Marines, who served two deployments overseas to Somalia and Afghanistan.

Peters is the Director of the non-profit group Operation: 23 to Zero, and explains why they held the walk, or "ruck" as it's called in the military.

"Veteran and military suicide is... the numbers are staggering, the more people we can get thinking about it, talking about it, the more minds we can get processing it and hopefully come up with some answers and solutions, and maybe get some more resources," he said.

The group says around 23 veterans take their lives daily across the U.S.

The group walked from Lake George to Apollo High School and back, with their ruck sacks on their backs and flags in their hands. 

Peters wants to break down the stigma surrounding veterans who may be struggling with depression, or suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"Don't be afraid to reach out, it's definitely not a sign of weakness. There's many instances where were going to ask for help in the military, whether you need air support, or a re-supply, so why's it any different when we get home?" he said.

Peters also suggested that veterans get a "battle buddy" to talk with.

The group towed a trailer full of combat boots worn by veterans who committed suicide, to help put faces to the statistics. 

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