LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – The Department of Veterans Affairs says that roughly 20 veterans a day commit suicide across the U.S., that is a startling statistic that nonprofit "Active Heroes" is hoping to change.
The organization coordinated a 5K Run and Walk Saturday in east Louisville to honor military members who have taken their own lives and rally support to save future lives.
For those involved with Active Heroes, they say participation can be life-saving, event coordinator Jeremy Sneed details, “Veterans especially are the people that deserve our appreciation and deserve our support, so those are the people we need to be helping first and foremost, they're the ones that put their lives on the line for us.”
Close to two dozen volunteers and nearly 300 attendees laced up their shoes for the Active Heroes 5K Run and Walk at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church on Breckenridge Lane.
“We have free programs for military members and their families, here locally in Louisville we have a community center, a retreat center and a cross fit gym in New Albany as well and we have programs all across the country from runs like this, walks, workout, anything to help veterans get out of the house and get active," Sneed said.
From experienced runners to smaller family members, the goal is focused on help and healing.
“Celebrate our independence and the greatness of our country and events like this that bring people together I think is a really good way to celebrate it," 5K winner Colleen Madden said.
“I'm actually a veteran myself so I do understand the importance of suicide awareness and the importance of reaching out to your battle buddy and having assistance when you need," Ann Crosby, an Army Reserve Veteran said.
Ryan Hartlage, a participant adds, “it would just be awesome to have the funds to support be able to support these guys who are coming back that way they can have mentors and build friendships and relationships with other folks to encourage them to fight through their battles and their struggles."
In the name of Independence and kindness – running, donating and caring can make a difference.
To every veteran in our area, Suzanne Bergmeister is says "There are people out here that want to help you, there are people that want to support you, all you gotta do is reach out and find them and I'm one of them.”
To donate or learn more, head to www.activeheroes.org.