AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A veteran is making his way across the eastern half of the United States in a effort to help those with serious issues. Today, many people at Forces United in Augusta welcomed the former soldier with open arms.
Veteran, Greg Washington said, “I was almost one of those 22 vets who die a day by suicide.”
Former U.S. Army Captain Greg Washington and his team are on a mission to change the narrative of mental instability.
“We have to break the silence around the stigmas of when it comes to getting help. We’re suffering in silence. We’re having to deal with more than the average person deals with in two lifetimes,” said Washington.
Before Washington started his 1,800-mile journey from Mississippi to New York on foot to raise awareness about survivor’s guilt, veteran and young adult suicide, he considered taking his own life after his time serving.
Washington said, “I found myself sitting at my desk with a loaded gun getting ready to make a very bad decision.”
But that all changed when Washington’s cousin called him.
“Every person that I meet I’m challenging them to be that angel my cousin was to me. If you can think of one friend, one family member, one loved one, that you hadn’t talked to in a while and just call and check-in, imagine that conversation being able to save a life,” said Washington.
Victoria Haan, Forces United President & CEO said, “As a community we can’t do this alone so we collaborate anytime we can to bring attention, to bring assistance and support to any issue facing our warriors and transitioning service members.”
So far Washington has walked more than 400 miles for his causes and has about eight more states to march through.
Washington said, “My 14-year-old son who has already walked 150 miles along the way, he’s helping me with bringing the awareness and attention to the youth and yes so hydration is key haha.”
Washington added two of his best friends who paid the ultimate sacrifice are a big part of his motivation. Scott Pace and Emily Perez. Perez was the first female African-American officer in the Army to die in combat.