Veterans Commit Suicide More than War. They Walk for Suicide-Lost Vets and Realize They’re Not Alone.
- Suicide causes grief for individuals, families, and communities across the country. Preventing suicide This is Puck Esposito’s fifth year walking seven miles with a 22-pound pack.
- Esposito works at Auburn’s Vet Center. He started Operation Iron Ruck, in which veterans walk 151 miles to raise awareness of veteran suicide. 22-pound rucksacks represent the 22 veterans who commit suicide daily.
- The 151-mile walk is from Nov. 23-26. Three teams will march alternately. They’ll trek from Auburn to Tuscaloosa.
- There are 40 walkers and 10 support staff. Auburn University’s Student Veteran Association member Clay Buchanan coordinated the endeavor.
- 1 in 10 Alabamans are veteran, therefore practically everyone knows one. Their suicides affect many. Lufkin needed the walk the first year. Adjusting to civilian life is difficult. Non-military folks couldn’t relate to him. Lufkin relived his service’s camaraderie during the stroll.
- Esposito said his agency can help veterans who need assistance. Lufkin hopes everyone helps a veteran on Thanksgiving. Caring matters a lot.