Veterans to march to raise suicide awareness

Published 9:36 am Wednesday, May 29, 2019

By Nacogdoches Miller

Sun Intern

A march is set for Memorial Day to raise awareness about veteran suicide.

Email newsletter signup

Benjamin Joynt, coordinator of the event, has been involved since its inception three years ago.

“I’ve had friends who have taken their own lives,” Joynt said about being inspired to do something “extreme” to bring awareness to a subject to which he is close.

Marchers will haul a 22-pound pack along the 22-mile course, the number 22 is strongly represented for emphasis on the number of veterans who take their own lives every day. 

“It’s not really a problem that money can fix,” Joynt said explaining how donations to the Veterans of Foreign Wars help, but he believes action can bring greater attention to the issue.

The march is open to anyone, the only requirement is participants must bring a 22-pound backpack to walk with.

So far, roughly 25 people have already signed up for Monday’s march, making this year’s turnout the biggest yet.

“It’s a very daunting thing, putting on a 22-pound pack and then going for 22 miles,” Joynt said.

He also wants veterans to know there are people who care and are there to reach out to.

Focusing on team work is key concept practiced during the march, making sure everyone starts and finishes together, from White Hall Park in Richmond to the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Winchester.

“There’s not really a sign up, it’s kind of if you’re crazy enough to go 22 miles, you just kinda show up and do it,” Joynt said, with a laugh.

Those who do wish to participate will meet at White Hall Park in Richmond. Step off is at 6 a.m. and people are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes, bring extra socks and water.