Photo Essay: Independence Day Run Raising Awareness on Veteran Suicides

Photo Essay: Independence Day Run Raising Awareness on Veteran Suicides

Hundreds of people laced up their sneakers this Independence Day weekend in Louisville to show their support for military veterans across America.

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Each runner that crossed the finish line during Saturday’s 5K Run/Walk received a medal (Photo courtesy: Jerry Shannon)

It happened Saturday at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church on Breckenridge Lane in East Louisville.

Jeremy Sneed says “veterans especially are the people that deserve our appreciation and deserve our support, so those are the people we need to be helping first and foremost, they’re the ones that put their lives on the line for us.
Sneed didn’t take on the challenge Saturday by running in the Active Heroes 4th fest 5K run and walk, but his organization provides free programs for veterans in an effort to prevent them from committing suicides.

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Jeremy Sneed is wearing the shirt that participants will receive after completing Saturday’s race. (Photo Courtesy: Jerry Shannon)

Sneed says, “we have free programs for military members and their families, here locally in Louisville we have a community center, a retreat center and a cross fit gym in New Albany as well and we have programs all across the country from runs like this, walks, workout, anything to help veterans get out of the house and get active.”

 

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Participant’s at this year’s race in East Louisville listened to the pledge of allegiance before taking on the course to honor veterans. (Photo: Jerry Shannon)

 

 

 

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Nearly 300 attendees laced up their shoes for Saturday’s 5K Run/Walk (Photo Courtesy: Jerry Shannon)

 

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Many participants took advantage of walking during Saturday’s run/walk supporting veterans. (Photo Courtesy: Jerry Shannon)

 

Colleen Madden finished the race first. She says the race isn’t all about running and winning the race.

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Colleen Madden tries to catch her breath after winning First Place in Saturday’s 5K Run/walk supporting veterans (Photo Courtesy: Jerry Shannon)

Madden says “we celebrate our independence and the greatness of our country and events like this that bring people together I think is a really good way to celebrate it.

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Baby Jason was one of the smaller family members participating in Saturday’s event with his father Aaron. (Photo Courtesy: Jerry Shannon)

The event was extra special for some veterans at the event who have worked among some of the veterans that have committed suicide.

The Department of Veterans Affairs says that’s about 20 veterans a day.

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Army Reserve veteran, Ann Crosby is all smiles after crossing the finish line in her Independence Day paraphernalia during Saturday’s race (Photo: Jerry Shannon)

Ann Crosby is an Army Reserve Veteran. She says ” I do understand the importance of suicide awareness and the importance of reaching out to your battle buddy and having assistance when you need.”

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James Castle tries to cool off with a bottle of water after completing the race Saturday (Photo Courtesy: Jerry Shannon)

Ryan Hartlage says he loves to run and says raising awareness on veteran suicides will require more than just hitting the pavement.
Hartlage says “it would just be awesome to have the funds to support these guys who are coming back, that way they can have mentors and build friendships and relationships with other folks to encourage them to fight through their battles and their struggles

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Active Heroes set up a booth at Saturday’s event for people to get more information about resources for veterans. (Photo Courtesy: Jerry Shannon)

Suzanne Bergmeister is an Air Force Veteran who says veterans who may need some help should take a step and check out some available resources.

Bergmeister says “There are people out here that want to help you, there are people that want to support you, all you got to do is reach out and find them and I’m one of them.

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Megan Patrick is excited about her medal after completing Saturday’s 5K Run/Walk (Photo Courtesy: Jerry Shannon)

For more information on Active Heroes and how to donate to the organization in Louisville, Click here.

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