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Area Residents Walk for Soldier Suicide Awareness

La Feria resident Karla Nemitz participated in the long walk held to raise funds and to raise awareness. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

Walking one or two miles might be a piece of cake for some people.

But going for nearly 40 miles in 22 hours is a major challenge for others.

That is what a group of 35 people completed Saturday, March 22, during the third annual Ruck Suicide Awareness Walk.

The walk started at 9 a.m. on that Saturday at the Iwo Jima Monument in Harlingen and ended at 6 a.m. Sunday at the same place.

The long walk included stops in La Feria where the group went along a section of Main Street in La Feria and took breaks at the American Legion and the Bottle Shop.

While on Main Street, the participating men and women could be seen walking fast and were escorted by area law enforcement officers.

In the group of walkers were current and former members of the Armed Forces and private citizens who together participate in a fundraising and to raise awareness about the suicide rate among those serving their country.

Some of the 30-plus people walking along Main Street in La Feria. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

Karla Nemitz, a Los Fresnos resident who was in the U.S. Coast Guard, said the fundraising was for Stopsoldiersuicide.org and the walk was sponsored by a Rio Grande Valley-based organization called Road Runner Ruckers of South Texas.

“Most of us completed the walk,” she said, “while others joined along the way or dropped out.”

Nemitz said walking nearly 40 miles is not that easy but those who participated did it for good cause.

The suicide rate among veterans is one of the highest in the county.

According to VA data from 2005 through 2015, 6,132 veterans and 1,287 service men and women committed suicide each year.

Edinburg resident Lydia Flores said this was her third participation in the walk.

“I feel good about it,” she said. “This is about bringing awareness for our veterans.”

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