ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a journey to make a difference. Two Army veterans are waking up in New Mexico to continue their cross-country trek that will take them from coast-to-coast on a nearly 3,000 mile walk with Albuquerque being just a pit stop.
According to a recent Veterans Affairs study, 20 veterans commit suicide every day (down from 22 previously) and it’s the reason Army veterans Joseph Cox and Adam Lingo are walking all the way from Los Angeles to Washington D.C.
“We had several friends after Iraq commit suicide,” said Lingo.
“The number one thing you hear is ‘I thought I was the only one,'” added Cox.
So for 22 weeks, the pair, who served together in the Army, will lace up, walk through at least a dozen states and document each step on social media.
This week, their walk is taking them through New Mexico. From Gallup, to Grants, to Milan and now, Albuquerque.
“We can stand outside and wave the flag all day long. It’s not doing anything. Until you get off the couch, put the flag down, go talk to your friends, you’re not impacting anything,” said Cox.
They hope their journey will encourage others to get out in their communities to talk, hang out and get to know veterans who may need their help.
“No matter how much you interact digitally with someone, you can’t tell what’s going on in their life,” said Cox.
The message seems to be getting out. Since they started, family members of fellow Army veterans have joined them. Even complete strangers have walked a few miles alongside them.
While they enjoy the company, they hope their mission works making this their last walk.
“The ultimate goal is to have 22 a day no longer exist and not have to do this again next year,” said Cox.
Lingo and Cox hope to make it to D.C. by Veterans Day on November 11.
The two are sharing their journey on Facebook and Twitter sending out updates on where they’re heading next, so anyone can join in.
Cox and Lingo say they’ve paid for this trip entirely out of pocket, so far spending around $8,000 to $10,000. They have set up a GoFundMe page to help offset the costs.