Nebraska, Iowa students raise awareness of veteran suicide
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Student veterans from Nebraska and Iowa have joined together in a nine-day march to raise awareness of veteran suicide ahead of a football game between the two universities.
The student veteran organizations at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Iowa organized the 347-mile march from Iowa City, Iowa to Lincoln, Nebraska, the Omaha World-Herald reported . The march started Wednesday and will conclude Thursday, just before Friday’s football game.
The groups hope to bring attention to the problem of veteran suicide. Studies show that about 20 veterans die by suicide every day.
“We feel like this is a good way,” said Gabriel teNyenhuis, 27, a former Marine and treasurer of the UNL Student Veterans Organization. “We’ll be marching along the roads. When people approach us, we can tell them about our cause.”
Iowa veterans began the march in Iowa City on Wednesday and continued through Sunday. Nebraska veterans took over the marching on Monday.
This is the second year the groups have marched. Veterans march about 20 miles every morning and afternoon while carrying 20 pound backpacks with their personal belongings. The event has been named “The Things They Carry Iowa-Nebraska Ruck March,” a reference to a book about Vietnam War soldiers.
The groups have rented an RV to follow the procession and provide participants with snacks and water.
Volunteers can join the march or cheer on the veterans, teNyenhuis said. He said he hopes to inspire more student veteran organizations to participate in similar events in the future.
“I’d like to see more universities do this,” teNyenhuis said. “My goal is to spread this across the Big Ten.”
Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com