Vet Suicide Prevention Walk Planned

Photo courtesy Ma Deuce Deuce

BRICK – Citing statistics that 22 veterans a day commit suicide, a 22K Walk/Ruck/Hump is planned for July 22.

Warhorse SCUBA and Ma Deuce Deuce are organizing the event, Operation Ruck It, which will kick off at Brick and lead to Seaside.

The hike is referred to as a “ruck march” by members of the Army or Air Force, or a “hump” by members of the Marines and Navy. It will be 22 kilometers in reference to the number of veterans who commit suicide every day.

Hikers have the option of carrying a 22-pound pack, symbolic of the burdens soldiers carry home with them. They can also carry flags that they bring themselves. Military standards from each branch of service will also be available.

Hikers do not have to be veterans to join the march. The entry fee is $22.

“Unfortunately, 22 veterans will choose to end their lives today,” read a statement from Warhorse. “This is a terrible trend that has hit too close to home with the recent death of Purple Heart recipient, Marine combat veteran Cpl Gary Bell from Brick.”

The “pre-Hump safety brief” begins at 7:30 a.m. at Trader’s Cove in Brick. All hikers must be present. There will be a small refreshments table there with bagels, donuts, coffee and juice.

There will be several spots for hikers to stop and rest, hydrate, change socks, and adjust gear. People can also be picked up here by friends and family if they can’t make it the entire trip.

The march is also looking for sponsors to sponsor each kilometer.

To register, sponsor, or for more information, visit http://www.warhorsescuba.com/join-the-march.html

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Chris Lundy is News Editor at Micromedia. He has covered Ocean County news and features in various publications since 2003. Lundy worked for Gannett with articles in The Beacon, Observer and Asbury Park Press. He's also written for the Community Connection, Patch and ShoreBeat.