Participants in next month’s Carry The Fallen Ruck-March event in Hillsboro they will embark on a trek that symbolizes the emotional burdens faced by many veterans.
The event is set for Sunday, Sept. 27. According to Shawn Carter of Support our Troops of Highland County it is managed through Active Heroes, a non-profit organization based in Louisville, Ky.
The goal of the event is to raise funds to increase awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Carter said, and to also prevent suicide among veterans.
According to its website, Active Heroes is “dedicated to connecting and helping America’s military families … (and) halt(ing) the triggering points and stress associated with ‘hard times’ that lead to suicide.”
Carter added that each day 22 veterans commit suicide.
“We’re trying to spread awareness and get this down,” Carter said.
The Active Heroes website explains that Carry The Fallen participants ruck-march “while carrying a weight that symbolizes the burden that many veterans carry post-war or post-trauma.”
September’s event will begin around noon with the march starting at about 12:15 p.m. Participants will meet at Liberty Park; walk through town, to the veterans memorial; and then work their way back to the park.
The walk, Carter said, will take about three hours. He added that once uptown there will be a water station. However, he said, “I encourage people to bring water with them.”
Following the march, there will be a discussion of PTSD and suicide prevention.
The event will raise funds for a Military Family Retreat Center in Shepherdsville, Ky. The retreat “will help reduce veteran suicide with outdoor activity programs and educational programs,” according to the Active Heroes website. Carter added that the retreat has been “started.”
He said that Support Our Troops became involved after connecting with Justin Fitch, a medically retired veteran from the Army. Carter said that even though Fitch is terminally ill he has raised over $86,000 for Active Heroes.
“After reading about (Active Heroes) … it’s an amazing organization,” Carter said.
He added that while he plans for this year’s event to be small, he hopes to expand the march in the future.
Multiple teams throughout the country participate in these ruck-sack marches; however, there are only four in Ohio, Carter said. Hillsboro’s team is called Team ABA. They can be found on Facebook by searching: Team ABA Ohio, Carry The Fallen.
To participate in the upcoming march, visit www.activeheroes.org/carry-the-fallen and search for Hillsboro’s team. From there, individuals can register for the event. Registration is free.
Carter added that for $50 participants can become an ambassador. According to the Active Heroes website, ambassadors will be sent a Carry The Fallen shirt, bumper sticker, refrigerator magnet, and flyers. They will also be sent a booklet containing suicide prevention information. Shipping is included in the $50 donation.
To learn more about Active Heroes, visit www.activeheroes.org. For more information about the Hillsboro event, contact Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Sarah Allen at 937-393-3456, ext. 1680, or on Twitter @SarahAllenHTG.