802 – Hikers raise awareness of veteran suicides

Terry Sharpe and Michael Boncek, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

U.S. military veterans Terry Sharpe and Michael Boncek walk together along U.S. 1, south of St. Augustine, on Thursday, January 05, 2017. (Peter Willott/St. Augustine Record)

Not everyone is sitting around wringing their hands about the appalling figures the VA is putting out in reference to veteran suicides. Some are doing something about the fact that according to that government organization, 18 to 22 veterans commit suicide every day. In this podcast episode a story about two veterans who are doing something about the tragedy of veteran suicides in a unique fashion will be featured. The story comes from the Florida Times-Union website jacksonville.com. It originated at the St. Augustine Record where it was titled: Terry Sharpe, Michael Boncek walk busy St. Johns County roadside to raise awareness of veterans suicide and was submitted by Sheldon Gardner of the St. Augustine Record.

Michael Boncek is an Army veteran who served in Iraq. He was a mine detection specialist there and suffered a traumatic brain injury that has resulted in him being beset with PTSD. Terry Sharpe served with the Marines in Vietnam. He calls himself “The Walking Marine,” because since 2014 he has been walking to support veterans causes. The two men met on a Mountain to Sea Trail walk in North Carolina, a state both men call home. They have been walking together for veteran causes ever since.

The reporter for the St. Augustine Record, Sheldon Gardner, caught up with the two as they walked down US 1 in Florida near St Augustine. They had started out on an eight day hike down the highway to drum up awareness for the calamity of veteran suicides. They walk along the roads carrying American flags. The Marine Terry Sharpe also carries a Marine flag along with the stars and stripes.

Terry offers this advice when it comes to veterans: “Check on the veterans you know. Call them. Take them out to lunch. Do something. Check on them. Make sure they’re OK. If they don’t seem to be OK, try to get some help for them. That’s all you can do.”

More help for veterans can be found at the Veterans Crisis Line. The number to call is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for help or intervention for a mental health crisis.

For another excellent source of help for PTSD and its accompanying miseries check out Dave Dunklee’s Healing Box Project. He uses guitar music to treat the symptoms and has been very successful in helping veterans. CLICK HERE for more in Dave’s program.

CLICK HERE for Michael Boncek’s website: Walk by Faith

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