Dozens turn out to show support for veterans with PTSD
GREEN BAY - A Green Bay group walked 28 miles in 12 hours to help veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Some studies suggest there is a possible link between PTSD and suicide.
About 22 veterans die by suicide every day according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
And the VA says suicide among young veterans is on the rise.
Here are the facts. Between 2009 and 2011, the rate of suicide among male veterans under the age of 30 has increased by 44 percent.
As for female veterans, the number has increased by 11 percent.
The Green Bay chapter of Carry the Fallen raised money and awareness for veterans living with PTSD.
"We're hoping by hitting the streets and letting everybody see what we've got going on that they're going to start asking questions and we can kind of fill them in as to what we have going on," said Mark Bonovetz, event organizer.
The Department of Veterans Affairs says combat situations can lead to PTSD.
"A perfect example is a scratched record playing over and over. It's hard going to sleep because of reoccuring dreams and certain smells," said George Wehausen.
Saturday's walk honored U.S. Army Veteran Jeremy Pearson of De Pere. The 25-year-old suffered from PTSD and died by suicide two months ago.
Wehausen and Pearson were friends.
"[I just want people to remember] how energetic and caring he was," Wehausen said.
Pearson was just one of many veterans the group honored.
"My dad and step-dad, they were all in the service," said Lisa Eichline.
Many of the walkers carried around backpacks, some weighing around 45 pounds.
"It's that little extra weight that helps remind us that we're suffering because they suffer," said Mike Meyer.
Meyer carried around a backpack to honor his cousin.
"He was a driver and they were blown up by a roadside bomb. They lost one and after that he suffered from what was considered a brain concussion which led to symptoms of PTSD. He battled it for several years and three years ago he ended his battle," Meyer said.
After short rest at the Veteran's Memorial Park, the group started walking again.
The walkers say there's still a long road to recovery for all the men and women in uniform dealing with PTSD.
That's what keeps them motivated to go the extra mile. The group has already raised $9,000 for Carry the Fallen.