FORT WAYNE, Ind (WFFT) - Throughout the community, veterans are hiding in plain sight. Some struggling to deal with everyday life.
When Jarred White came home from overseas, deep down, he had the same issues, even if he didn't snow it.
"I know for me when I got out of the marine corps, I thought I was unstoppable. I didn’t think anything would bother me.”
That’s the mentality of many veterans who return home from deployment.
They deal with undiagnosed mental health issues like PTSD and suicidal thoughts.
That problem is no different here in Northeast Indiana and Northwest Ohio.
Thats why White and friend Tyler Egbert, both veterans, founded the group FW22, to provide a place for veterans to feel comfortable speaking about their problems.
Egbert explained, "When you got out, you kind of got that gap of you used to be together all the time , now you don’t have that. So, we wanted to give the guys around here locally a reason to get together and hang out, talk, and deal with issues they have."
Two of those issues? PTSD and suicide, which is what Saturday’s walk was all about.
The number 22 is in the name of the group, but is also touted as the number of veterans who take their own life everyday in the US.
That number is also the number of kilometers they walked to spread awareness.
Sherrye Long is one of those affected by mental health issues.
"This is an event I can really stand behind with mental illness and our veterans...And i’ve been affected by mental health in my family and I know suicide is a big problem among our veterans," Long said.
She, like many others, continue to come out to the event, helping it grow every year, but the problem hasn’t gone away. That’s why White and Egbert has held the event every year since 2014.
"For Tyler and I to be able to put on an event once a year to honor those families, it’s the least we can do since these ones who are no longer with us put their life on the line and served our nation," White said.
If you or someone you know struggles with mental illness, PTSD, or suicidal thoughts, links to some resources are provided below.