Group of Veterans Taking Steps to Raise Awareness for PTSD

FOX 25-OKC - April 3, 2022 10:13 pm

A group of military veterans are making an incredible journey to highlight an important cause.

Starting Monday, ten army and marine veterans will walk 100 miles from Oklahoma City to Lawton.

Those making the trek are walking to raise awareness for PTSD.

The group will average around twenty-three miles a day for the first few days, with the intention to talk to each other about what they’ve gone through fighting for our country, and how to cope with some of the traumatic experiences they’ve brought home with them.

Henry Escobedo is an army veteran whose smile and laughter light up a room.

Sitting down and talking with him, you would never imagine what he’s had to overcome after his twelve years in the army.

“I myself suffer from PTSD, which at times I have done several gatherings where I want to learn more from it,” Escobedo said. “Because at times I, myself don’t even understand why I act the way I act.”

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, about 6% of the population will experience PTSD at some point in their lives.

“It’s just the traumatizing event or scenario that you go through, that whenever you think about it, it could hinder your life,” Escobedo said. “The way you live it, the way you think, the way you feel, the way you perceive it, which is the biggest thing of all.”

The event is sponsored by Semper Fi & America’s Fund.

Jon Lujan, the event organizer, said since Semper Fi & America’s Fund started in 2003, they’ve given out over $270 million in grants to thousands of veterans and their families.

With this walk, they’re working to make sure no veteran feels alone in their struggles.

“Each day you see growth,” Lujan said. “And I think the idea is the next one we do we try to bring some of the alumni that did it on the previous trips and match them with the new veterans, so there’s a cohesiveness.”

The walk starts at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and ends at Fort Sill.

Escobedo is looking forward to new coping mechanisms on his journey of healing.

“When we’re in the same boat, and we’re rowing for a certain goal which is 100 miles, just to talk and let it out,” Escobedo said.

The group hopes their steps will raise awareness.

“Let’s remember that we’re doing it for the guys and gals who can’t do it anymore, and we’re also doing it to raise money so we can continue to do these,” Lujan said.

The group is encouraging you to come and walk with them over the next five days.

For a live map of where the group is located, click on this link: https://share.garmin.com/ptsdcenturyhikeoklahoma

To donate to Semper Fi & American Fund, here is the link: https://give.thefund.org/team/416737

 

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