Queen City Rucking for 22 event raises awareness of veteran suicide
STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - On Saturday the second annual Queen City Rucking for 22 event took place in Staunton, participants walked 22 kilometers, stopping at 12 checkpoints around the city in order to raise awareness of veteran suicide.
“We use the 22K as a reflection of the vets that we lose every single day, so on average we lose 22 veterans a day, that number is unfortunately expected to spike due to current situations around the world,” said Jesse Dibble, a U.S. Navy veteran who helped run the event.
The rucking event was started by a group of area veterans to raise money for the Specialist Trevor Banks Foundation, a charity named for a solider from Harrisonburg who took his own life. “My son Trevor Banks died in 2013 and in 2015 I started the Specialist Trevor Banks Foundation to use my pain to help other veterans and their families so that no one has to go through this alone,” said Felicia Thomas, mother of Trevor Banks and founder of the charity.
Thomas has used her charity to help many veterans and their families over the years, including the founder of the Queen City Rucking for 22 event. “I met her five years ago and I met her when I was at my darkest time, and her having a wonderful foundation for us veterans to turn to, it’s wonderful,” said Helyn Stowe, a veteran and the founder of the event.
Stowe served in the army for 17 years and after meeting Thomas, wanted to do her part to help out. “I needed a purpose I needed something to unite our fellow veterans, 22, it’s too much so I came up with Queen City Rucking for 22, I gathered my veteran friends and I said ‘hey, lets do an event’,” said Stowe.
The money raised for the Foundation helps Thomas support veterans in a variety of ways, including feeding hungry vets and their families, as well as connecting them to mental health support programs.
“It’s really good to know when people walk up to you and say thank you for what you’ve done, I mean you never know how you have touched someone, you never know when you have saved someone,” said Thomas.
You can learn more about the Spec. Trevor Brooks Foundation here.
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