At least 17 veterans take their own lives every 24 hours, according to Department of Defense data. That’s 17 too many, and longtime friends Brian Alvey and Adam Smith, both veterans, are doing something about it.
Alvey and Smith are walking across Indiana to raise awareness of veteran suicide.
“We sprain our ankle, we go see a doctor,” Alvey told 14 News. “But we sprain the most sensitive thing on our body, our mental mechanism, our brain and well it’s good I’ll walk it off. That just doesn’t make any sense. We’ve got to open that door, we have to start having this dialog and we’ve got to encourage guys to go get some help through this.”
The walk will take Alvey and Smith across 120 miles of the Hoosier State. They’re prepared for it, through. They’ve actually done it before. In July 2019 the pair walked from New Albany to Franklin, cities in Indiana that are about 115 miles apart.
During that event, the friends raised almost $50,000 for what they named the “Warrior 110.”
Alvey and Smith know that many service members struggle when they first come home. It’s not easy leaving often traumatic experiences behind.
“It’s hard to make the transition to understand it’s okay to ask for help,” Smith told 14 News. “Isolation becomes a huge in veteran suicide because the isolation from other people because I’ve got this turns into that really deep depression that leads veterans into.”
Alvey and Smith are beginning their walk across Indiana on Nov. 7, four days before Veterans Day. They are inviting the public to join them, too.
Learn more about the veterans in the video below.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.