In 2017 there were more than 6,000 veteran suicides. Simple math breaks that down into 16.8 a day according to the Department of Veteran Affairs. Recent Afghanistan vet Travis Snyder, and former corporal, knew this statistic but was still shocked and devastated when a close friend from his task force lost his life to suicide. “Before that I read about it and had awareness but I didn’t fully understand the magnitude that this epidemic has on people.” Snyder said in an interview recently.
This moved Snyder to do something about it. He wanted to raise awareness of these outrageous numbers and bring attention to a topic that no one seemed to be talking about. He came up with a simple plan starting with leaving his job. He then left his apartment and decided that he would hike 810 miles around Lake Michigan in 42 days. He created a Facebook page to document his journey, but other than that he didn’t advertise, ask for money, or really do much more to bring attention to himself. He even sold his jeep to fund the adventure. What he thought was just going to be him and his journey, turned into building a community he never imagined. And the story is still spreading. Snyder has been featured on news outlets such as FOX News, CNN, and ABC to explain his goals.
Snyder started in Manistee, Michigan and averaged walking about 20 miles a day. His original intent was to simply camp or sleep outside every night, but he ran into such generous and kind people along the way that were interested in his story that he never had to rough it in the elements. “Every single day people were reaching out to support the cause whether it was a roof or a meal… I did not sleep outside once.” he said about the trip.
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