At least a couple of events were held in Iowa over the weekend to raise awareness about a troubling trend among military members. U.S Army veteran John Lame and Iowa National Guardsman Chad Madison organized a 25-mile long “Road March” between Newton and Altoona that took place on Saturday.
Lame says the effort is based on a program in Minnesota called “The Next Objective” held each October 23rd. “The 23 represents the 23 veterans each day last year who committed suicide,” Lame says. There were several 23-mile walks held across the country to raise awareness about the matter. Lame is hoping to make the walk from Newton to Altoona an annual event.
He says they increased the walk from 23 to 25 miles to make it a bit closer to a marathon, which is just over 26 miles. “The 25 also represents a 25 mile road march, which I had to do when I was in the service,” Lame said. While making the march on Saturday, Lame and the other participants collected donations for programs addressing suicide in the military.
A similar event called the 23-mile Ruck Up for Life, involving more than 200 participants, was also held on Saturday between Council Bluffs and Omaha.
(Reporting by Pat Blank with Iowa Public Radio and Pat Curtis with Radio Iowa)