22 veterans commit suicide every day; here's how one local group is trying to help

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Saturday, December 7, 2019
News 12 at 11 o'clock

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Across the nation, 22 veterans commit suicide every day, and one local group is starting an annual tradition to change that.

The Vintage Initiative Project held its first Ruk 4 Awareness 5k in Augusta Saturday. The goal was to bring awareness to the resources available for veterans.

"It's hard to get help. It's hard to ask for help," said Lisa Sixbey, a Navy veteran.

She and her husband come from military families. She said military life is very tough and high-pressured, and asking for help is not always an option.

"There's a big stigma about it, especially in the military," she said. "If you act or look 'weak,' it can make life harder. So you just learn how to grin and bear it."

But sometimes, behind the toughness, is pain. 22 veterans commit suicide every day nationwide. It's a devastating reality that brought veterans and their families together Saturday. They honored those who lost their lives and felt their presence every step of the way.

"Really just, brings their memories up," Sixbey said. "I'm glad that there are services here that are willing to support the veterans to get them the help they need."

There were tables of veterans organizations bringing awareness to the services available. Things like music therapy, massage therapy and transitional programs.

"We started this 5k to just bring awareness to the 22 people we lose every day to veterans suicide," said Ellie McGuire, founder of the Vintage Initiative Project. "Just really giving them a connection to different outlets."

It's all in hopes to get the number of runners to grow, and the number of suicides to shrink.

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