A group of military men and women hiked the roads of Logan County earlier this week through Active Heroes, a mission to support U.S. military service members, veterans and their families through physical, educational, and emotional programs providing coping skills in an effort to eliminate suicide.
Carry The Fallen is a ruck-march (hiking) event with a purpose by and for active heroes, a 501c3 charity coordinated by Volunteer Team Leaders.
Teams ruck-march for 3, 6, 12 or 22 hours while carrying weight that symbolizes the burden that many veterans carry post-war or post-trauma. The ultimate purpose of Carry The Fallen is to reduce veteran suicide and assist military families by:
1. Establishing camaraderie to cope with Post Traumatic Stress (anger, depression, loneliness, substance abuse and suicidal tendencies). Uniting veterans, families and supporters to care for each other in times of need.
2. Training Team Leaders how to interact with suicidal veterans and the steps to assist them.
3. Developing a Peer Mentor and Ambassador community of veterans, military families and civilians who support struggling families and/or veterans.
4. Supporting Active Heroes programs including the retreat, community center, home repairs, and active challenges from donations raised by the Carry The Fallen events that will help reduce veteran suicide with outdoor activity programs and educational programs.
Active Heroes began with a grandson’s recognition that military men and women need support after serving their country.
On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. It was a devastating attack that emboldened many Americans to help our Nation. The next morning, 3 brothers walked 30 miles to Lebanon, Ky. to sign up to fight.
All the brothers were separated and sent to different locations. Joseph spent most of the war in the Pacific ocean supplying our troops in the Army. After the war ended, all of the brothers survived and returned home to begin a life working in factories.
Years went by and Joseph suffered from depression and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In 1980, Joseph committed suicide.
Joseph Leake’s grandson, Troy Yocum grew up not fully understanding why his grandfather, Joseph Leake would come to the conclusion that suicide was the only way out. After joining the Army after 9/11 and deploying to Iraq, Yocum came to realize that his friends were experiencing similar issues that his grandfather had. Yocum decided to make it his personal mission to help struggling veterans and their family members to reduce veteran suicide numbers.
Yocum came up with a plan to raise awareness and funds to help military families by hiking across America. He began the 17-month journey, dubbed the “Hike for Heroes,” on April 17, 2010, and finished more than 7,800 miles across 37 states on Sept. 3, 2011. Yocum became the first veteran to ever walk the length of 3 times across America and was awarded the Citizen Honors Medal by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. The hike garnered national attention for veteran suicide awareness, raised $1.3 million for military families and helped to create the charity named Active Heroes to continue a mission to end veteran suicide.
Since the inception of Active Heroes, the programs have adapted to identify the triggering points associated with veteran suicide. Active Heroes has national programs in every state and regional programs serving with locations.
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.