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Veteran Makes 4th Trip Around Lake MI For Suicide Awareness

U.S. soldiers take part in NATO-led military exercises at the military base of Vaziani, outside Tbilisi, Georgia, in August.
Shakh Aivazov
/
AP
U.S. soldiers take part in NATO-led military exercises at the military base of Vaziani, outside Tbilisi, Georgia, in August.

An estimated 22 veteran lives are taken by suicide each year.

One West Michigan marine seeks to cut that number down through his fourth-annual walk around Lake Michigan, highlighting mental health and suicide awareness.

Boots on the ground has taken on a new meaning to marine veteran Travis Snyder, after returning from service in Afghanistan five years ago.

“Life is going on without you, so when you come back home not only are you trying to reconnect with family and friends, but it’s a matter of how to rediscover your purpose in life,” Snyder explained.

He may be in civilian life now, but he’s still suiting up to defend his country, this time on home soil. The West Michigan native began a solo, two-month-long walk around Lake Michigan on Sunday to raise money and awareness for veteran mental health and suicide prevention.

“It wasn’t talked about much even as a kid in the 90’s or early 2000’s. Well shoot the VA’s only been tracking veteran suicide for 17 years,” Snyder said.

It’s Snyder’s fourth trek around the more than 800 miles of coastline since he started the annual walk in 2019, upon learning his friend and comrade, Sgt. Geoffrey Hughes died by suicide.

“Up until that point my unit we had lost others before my time of service, but that way my first time experiencing loss up that close, Once we lost Jeff I would say I just felt led to do something and walking and hiking was the best thing I knew how to do,” Snyder said.

Snyder will be documenting his trip on social media, highlighting resources like Mission 22, a nonprofit that provides personalized support for veterans and their families.

There will be links available to donate toward the cause and his trip.