MARTIN CO., N.C. (WNCT) – Every day, an estimated 22 veterans take their own lives. It’s a startling statistic and one many are hoping to change.
On June 28th, Shane Stephens and Holli Wood began their 222 mile journey from Camp Lejuene to Virginia Beach. They’re walking to raise awareness and money for End 22, a non-profit that aims to get mental health help to those who need it to reduce and eliminate suicide rates.
“It’s ok not to be ok,” Stephens said. “There’s always an option, we can get you help.”
End 22 often pays for mental health treatment that is very costly and sometimes not covered by the VA.
“I think it’s something that we all should get behind as Americans,” Wood said.
Despite high temperatures and humidity, the pair have tried to walk 22 miles every day — one mile for every veteran who takes their life on a daily basis.
The pair aren’t hard to miss, wearing red shirts with End 22 and holding an American flag. Attached to the flag pole are the names of hundreds of veterans and civilians who have recently committed suicide.
Stephens said they hope to reach Virginia Beach by July 7. Their goal is to have raised $15,000 by the time they arrive.