COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – This Memorial Day weekend, we honor those who died while serving our country. One retired Army Captain is making sure the community also remembers the veterans who lost their battles with suicide.
Retired Captain Greg C. Washington is walking 1,800 miles through 11 states and 25 cities to bring awareness to suicide among veterans.
About 20 veterans commit suicide a day, and Washington also suffers from PTSD. He served seven years overseas, including two combat deployments.
Washington founded the non-profit, The House of Man, to help people combat the effects of PTSD and extensive grief such as isolation, depression and suicidal thoughts. The House of Man aims to erase the stigmas surrounding mental health.
Washington is using his cross-country trek to honor those who are suffering from trauma and grief in silence.
“A lot of times, organizations and people focus on those who have died in battle,” Washington said, “but they don’t focus on soldiers who return home and have to overcome their battles after they are away.”
Washington began his walk in Mound Bayou, Miss. and will end his journey at West Point Academy. He will walk through Alabama, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, New Jersey and, finally, New York.
“Part of the reason why I’m walking is it’s my journey to heal and it’s also a call to action for other people to start their journey to heal as well,” Washington said.
Friday, Washington made a stop in Columbus at the National Infantry Museum, to speak to soldiers and promote suicide prevention. Throughout his journey, he is stopping to host rallies alongside mental health advocates.
He is connecting the communities he walks through to local and state resources in hopes of curving the suicide rate.
“For anyone that’s wondering that is dealing with trauma, grief and depression and even thoughts of suicide and they’re wondering what should they do… this is a sign suicide is not the way,” Washington said. “It never will be.”
Washington’s next stop is Atlanta, where he will be hosting another rally.
“Whatever you are going through, you don’t have to go through it alone,” Washington said. “Walk with me.”
To support Washington’s journey or to join in on the walk, head to his website or follow the hashtag #walkwithgreg.