Travis Snyder served his country as a United States Marine from 2012 to 2018. This fall, he gave even more when he decided to bring attention to the crisis of climbing veteran suicide rates by walking 800 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs reports 20 veterans, on average, commit suicide every day.
Working in partnership with Mission 22, a non-profit that works with veteran families dealing with PTSD, Snyder hiked for 42 days. On the last mile, a crowd of people joined him as he made his way back to his starting point, Manistee.
Snyder’s walking campaign was completely organic. He sold his car to fund his trip and posted a daily report on his Facebook page, Veteran Suicide Awareness: Travis Hikes Around Lake Michigan. Without any advertising or promotion, his page grew to 4,300 followers who liked reading about his journey, including how he found a kitten he named Gulliver.
His followers posted messages of encouragement and appreciation for how he chose to bring attention to veteran suicide. Many of them had lost loved ones to suicide.
Snyder’s posts are filled with resources and friendship. So important, because the more suffering veterans know how much love and support is available, the more likely they will seek attention.
If you, or someone you know, is in crisis and needs to speak with someone immediately please call 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1), text 838255, call 911 or go to the nearest ER.
Even though his trek around Lake Michigan is over, Snyder plans to keep the page up so he can offer his ear to whoever needs to talk and to let people know help is available.
Veterans, you’ve done so much. Get help if and when you need it.