RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Dunham Field track at Mines was busy with walkers getting in a bit of exercise for a great cause.
The local Mission 22 chapter organized a 24 hour walk for the 22 veterans lost to suicide everyday. The walk began on Monday at 8 a.m., and throughout the day, members of the Police Department, Sheriff’s Office, Fire Department, military, and locals showed their support for those lost and struggling.
“I think it’s going to mean a lot to those that are struggling, seeing people coming out, taking time out of their day to come show some support for them,” said Regional Mission 22 Leader Chris Cooper.
“We just have such a respect for those that go out to serve the community,” said Rapid City Police Chief Don Hedrick. “And that includes all of our military members, as well as our police officers. And we have a lot of police officers that have prior military experience. So, an event like this it’s important for us to get out and show support.”
For some participants and volunteers, it was personal.
“Personally, I wanted to get involved,” said state lead and active duty military member, Jenn Frisk. “I lost three friends to suicide and it just kind of resonated of it’s okay to not be okay, and find some help out there.”
Organizers were glad to see so many people taking the issue seriously. Captain Scott Sitts of the Rapid City Police Department, who is a former Marine, also said that although the event was geared towards Mission 22, mental health affects all areas of the community.
“It’s also a good reminder for everyone in our community that might be struggling with depression that there’s help, and there’s resources, and there’s people out there that care and want to see you do well,” Sitts said.
The walk will end at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, so there is still plenty of time to get involved.