Veteran walking length of U.S. to promote suicide awareness

Veteran walking length of U.S. to promote suicide awareness

POOLER, Ga. (WTOC) - A retired soldier is walking the length of the United States to help raise awareness of veteran suicide. Jimmy Novak stopped in the Coastal Empire near the end of his journey.

The office of Veterans Affairs reports 16 veterans commit suicide every day. And their rates are 1.5 times higher than the general population.

Right now he is in our area, sharing his own story of what he has dealt with.

We caught up with Novak when he stopped in Pooler. He met with the Combat Vets Motorcycle Association, and told us why this mission is important to him.

“I found the process of talking about what I had been through and the things I was holding in to be very therapeutic, and now if I can inspire someone else to reach out and seek help, and seek help early, then that’s what really makes the whole 3,000 mile trip worth while," Novak said.

Novak has been walking since March 22.

On the state level, Georgia reported 202 veteran suicides in 2016. South Carolina reported 120. Neither was higher than the national average.

If you’re a veteran and ever need someone to talk to, visit the Veterans Crisis Line.

You can also call 1-800-273-8255 or text 838255.

Copyright 2019 WTOC. All rights reserved.