‘March a Mile in Their Boots’ will shine light on suicides in military

'March a Mile in Their Boots' flier 'Stop Soldier Suicide'

Florida native Tara Broocks has organized an effort that is part of a national initiative to raise awareness about preventing suicide among members of the military and veterans.

On Saturday, July 25, supporters of members of our military will ‘March a Mile in Their Boots’ to call attention to suicides among military members. The plight of those who take their own lives and the sheer numbers are a real eye opener. In September, 2019 the US Dept. of Defense published data in a report focusing on prevention. Just how bad is the problem?[Content continues after break and photo]

Tara Broocks with daughter
Tara Broocks is shown here with her daughter. Broocks, a US Coast Guard veteran, who is now a professional dog trainer, has organized an official activity to participate in ‘March a Mile in Their Boots’ to Stop Soldier Suicide. (Photo by Elena Carter)

Suicides have risen, and a comparison to 2012 indicates the deaths span different branches of the military. In 2012 The Guardian (UK) cast a light on numbers that seemed shocking—more in the military died by their own hand than in combat. The Guardian reported, “In all, 349 service members took their own lives in 2012, while a lesser number, 295, died in combat.”

The military is still grappling with this issue. The US Dept. of Defense reported sobering numbers in the Sept. 2019 report:

“The report shows that in 2018, 541 service members across the military’s active and reserve components died by suicide. Within the active component, the suicide rate was 24.8 per 100,000 personnel. In the service reserves, the suicide rate for 2018 WAS 22.9 suicides per 100,000, and in the National Guard, the 2018 suicide rate was 30.6 per 100,000.”

If you have a loved one serving in the military, and if that loved one has seen combat or experienced conflict, it’s not hard to grasp those numbers. I’m reminded of the Vietnam years. When I was in college, I dated a fellow who had returned from Vietnam. He had seen combat up close and personal. He was such a kindhearted soul. But I could tell the demons in his mind haunted him. My friend didn’t hurt himself, but he struggled mightily. He had a hard time even talking about what he experienced.

Tara Broocks*, who is a wife, mom, and professional dog trainer, organized a march in Maine for Saturday, and she also has inspired those who don’t live near her to participate and document their walk online. Tara has an edge when it comes to understanding the challenges of military service—she is a veteran of the US Coast Guard and her husband still serves.

All monies raised will go to the organization Stop Soldier Suicide.

Joshua Knight with wife Rebecca Day (the Crazy Daysies) after a charity run
Joshua Knight (left) with wife Rebecca Day (The Crazy Daysies) will join the Stop Soldier Suicide initiative ‘March a Mile in Their Boots’ on July 25, 2020. (Used with permission)

In my family Rebecca Day (The Crazy Daysies) will do the walk with her husband Joshua Knight. Rebecca and her sister Jenn have done fundraisers for the military in the past, in part because our family has a tradition of military service.

More information is available at the Event page on Facebook.

Even if you can’t participate, donations are welcomed and can be made online at the Stop Soldier Suicide donations page.

~~By way of disclosure, Tara is related to my family by marriage. I will be forever grateful to her because she gave me a pedicure when Rebecca and Joshua were married. As the mom of the bride, that was one of the best gifts of someone’s time I think I’ve gotten in my lifetime.

(Kay B. Day/July 24, 2020)

 

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