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Cape Fear law enforcement, military veterans walk for suicide prevention

Updated: Sep. 15, 2019 at 5:26 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - September is Suicide Prevention month and law enforcement as well as military veterans have geared up to support their brothers in arms.

Kory Thomas, a Navy veteran, is walking 122 miles from Wilmington to Raleigh to raise awareness for the 20-plus veterans that commit suicide a day. He’s part of the Irreverent Warriors, a group that brings veterans together using camaraderie and humor.

“We hike 22 kilometers; we carry 22 kilos in our rucks and its for the 22 veterans that commit suicide every day.”

The North Carolina Chapter of the Smoking Shields in collaboration with The Honor Hike Foundation has created the “Survive the 55” hike. The group walked 55 miles over three days and was inspired by the statistic that claims one officer commits suicide every 55 hours.

“There’s been a stigma on law enforcement for a long time of be tough, suck it up, you can’t get help," said Jeremy Grimes, Captain of the Bakersfield Police Department in California. "That’s part of what we’re trying to do is erase that stigma and there is help out there.”

Both parties have experienced the struggles of mental health, personally and from afar. They say asking for help is big step to take, but an important one for anybody that might be struggling or having unhealthy thoughts.

“'Look I need some help,' that’s all it takes," said Thomas. "Those are the hardest words to ask, the hardest words to ever say, I need help. But you have to, because you’re worth it.”

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline : 1-800-273-8255

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