On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, one veteran decided to take a “long journey.” He did so in an effort to raise awareness about – and funds for – veteran suicide prevention.
With this in mind, Vermont resident Chase Stanley, a veteran of the United States Army decided Saturday, Sept. 11, was the day he should take his walk. He talked about this during an interview with the Brattleboro Reformer.
“With all the things going on, it was a good time to remember the sacrifices some people in our country have had to make,” Stanley told the publication.
For his fundraising effort, Stanley chose to walk 22 miles from Newfane and ended in Brattleboro in Vermont. He chose to walk 22 miles for an important reason. The number 22 is the average of military veterans who pass away due to suicide each day.
The walk was a time for Stanley to reflect on the Army friends he lost to suicide.
“I can’t explain why they came to the decision to end their own lives,” he shared. Stanley also reflected on moments of struggle in his own life.
“It’s hard not to get down on yourself every now and then. Thankfully, there are resources out there. The hardest part is coming forward and saying, ‘I need some help,'” the veteran also said.
Vermont Veteran Raises Funds for National Alliance to End Veteran Suicide
Through his walk, this Vermont veteran raised almost $6,500. The money raised is meant for the National Alliance to End Veteran Suicide. Chase Stanley said he was surprised at the amount donated to the cause. “Luckily, the community and everyone jumped on board really quickly. We raised more than I ever expected,” he also shared.
Stanley’s walk on Sept. 11 took him almost 11 hours. Needless to say, his wife, was impressed with what her husband did to help others. “It was amazing. He was very emotional,” Tiffany Stanley said.
As he was walking, Chase Stanley encountered many friends. He also saw Brian Squires, another U.S. Army veteran, join him for a section of the trek. “We talked about our old Army memories, which was good,” Stanley also shared.
While walking, the two decided that stops at the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion were in order. They also stopped at the Kyle Gilbert memorial. Gilbert perished while serving in the Army in Afghanistan in 2015.
Veteran Chase Stanley also said he hopes to make his walk an annual event. He wants to see other people will join in his effort to raise funds for and awareness of veteran suicide.
Stanley served in the United States Army from 2005 until 2010. During that time, he was stationed in Iraq, Korea, and also in Fort Hood in Texas. After he left the military, he became a police officer and worked for the Brattleboro Police Department. He later left that job for a position at the Pleasant Valley Water Treatment Plant.