Despite the incoming winter storm, motorcyclists from the American Legion rallied together Saturday morning to raise awareness for a growing problem among veterans.
It was the first SAVE Veterans Ride, Kick Stands Up Motorcycle Rally. The ride kicked off at the Raymond G. Murphey VA Medical Center.
More than two dozen bikers lined up their motorcycles, preparing for a 200-mile ride through New Mexico, raising awareness for the prevalent problem of veteran suicide.
“A lot of people don’t understand what it’s like when you come back from overseas,” says Aaron Dean, a member of the American Legion.
Dean, a veteran himself, knows firsthand how powerful depression can be for members of the military.
“It’s really strange, I’ve lost friends myself because they called me for help and I didn’t realize at the time they needed help, and I didn’t show up,” says Dean.
According to a recent study done by the VA, at least 20 veterans commit suicide each day.
Christina Camacho, a local suicide prevention case manager at the VA, says it is important to recognize the signs of suicidal thoughts.
“A lot of times people feel like they can’t go outside of themselves,” says Camacho.
The bikers will be making numerous stops along the route, ending their journey with a service tomorrow morning at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire.
If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, or suicidal thoughts click here to see resources offered by the VA Hospital.