Military group hosts walk to raise suicide awareness
COLUMBIA - A nonprofit organization trying to raise awareness for veteran suicide rates held its first annual walk Saturday.
Combat Boots and High Heels was founded in August and hosted its 22-mile walk on the Katy Trail.
Executive Director Adrienne Hatcher said they decided to make the walk 22 miles to match the statistic that 22 service members and veterans commit suicide a day.
"A lot of people cover up or don't discuss suicide amongst the veteran community because it's not a popular topic," Hatcher said. "We need people to know that there's people committing suicide and that we want to put a stop to it."
Hatcher also said the Missouri Army National Guard recently lost two soldiers to suicide, which inspired her to form the walk.
Walk participant Michelle Lewis said she knows how it feels to be in a bad place in her life and wants to help others.
"To be a survivor and to be here, I am truly honored to walk this walk and tell everybody that there is a way out," Lewis said.
The walk started at the McBaine trailhead and ended in Boonville.
Participants could choose to walk the entire 22 miles or choose between several shorter routes.
Hatcher said she hopes to continue the walk in coming years.