Military walk raises awareness about suicide rates

"We did this walk in remembrance of the guys who took their own lives over the past few years, it\'s something that\'s become an epidemic," says Ross Delafield, of Leesburg. (Courtesy Dick Uliano)

WASHINGTON — Three Marine veterans have finished a nearly month-long walk from New York City to Washington to raise awareness about the high suicide rate among military veterans.

The walkers arrived at the World War II Memorial to the cheers of their waiting family and friends.

“We did this walk in remembrance of the guys who took their own lives over the past few years, it’s something that’s become an epidemic,” says Ross Delafield, of Leesburg. “We don’t feel guys have a real easy time transitioning back from active duty.”

Adam Shatarsky, Delafield’s former classmate at Loudoun County High School, organized the walk, following his California to Washington trek in 2013 for the same cause.

“It’s important to give all of our veterans a voice who possibly feel they don’t have one,” Shatarsky says. “We represent that walking struggle.”

Rounding out the trio is Marine veteran Josh Perry, of Florida.

“It’s a serious problem, no veteran should die alone,” Perry says. “It breaks my heart to hear so many veterans are dying alone.”

Pentagon statistics indicate that as many as 22 veterans a day may be taking their own lives.

The walk is called “The Wounded Walk,” and the non-profit group accepts donations at thewoundedwalk.org.

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