Patrick Lobdell will walk 22 miles around Vancouver on Sept. 11 to raise awareness of the nearly 22 veteran suicides that occur every day in the United States.
Lobdell, the Oregon/Washington state leader for the nonprofit Mission 22, is a veteran himself — 17 years of military service with four years of active duty with the Marine Corps and 13 years of reserve duty.
He joined Mission 22 five years ago after seeing a post about it. Lobdell said the nonprofit’s vision resonated with him.
There are free resources available to veterans, he said, specifically for those who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder and other traumatic brain injuries.
“Bringing awareness is why I’m doing this. A lot of people don’t know about this issue,” Lobdell said.
After posting on social media about his plan, friends were encouraged and decided to join him, he said.
“There are people who I went to high school with and was stationed with at the air base, others that I’ve known since elementary school,” Lobdell said.
He said he chose to walk on 9/11 because of its significance. He estimates around a dozen people will join him.
“What I want to put out there is that it’s OK to talk about your mental health issues. Don’t hold it in. We have to break the stigma that talking about suicide or being depressed is bad because it’s not. There’s always somebody who will listen,” Lobdell said.