Local veteran marches 628 miles to raise awareness for Post Traumatic Stress

By: Shelby Olive
| Published 04/16/2016

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CONROE, Texas — Air Force Security Police veteran Ken Meyer took the first of many steps for his 628-mile march to raise awareness about the dark realities of Post Traumatic Stress.

The trek will end May 28 at the Texas Frog Festival in Corpus Christi, an event that commemorates Operation Redwing and raises money for the Lone Survivor Foundation. Meyer’s vision for his Never Quit March aligns with the Lone Survivor Foundation’s mission—to eliminate the existing stigmas of Post Traumatic Stress and provide people with the resources they need to be find healing.

Each mile marks meaning. Meyer will alternate walking 19 and 22 miles each day—19 for the number of people killed during Operation Redwing and 22 for the number of veteran suicides that occur each day—totaling the 628 miles representing the date of Operation Redwing.

“I wanted to set it up because everything has a meaning,” Meyer said. “Really what I want to do is pull together a lot of people that either have Post Traumatic Stress or individuals who have lost their battles with Post Traumatic Stress and walk a mile for them in their name. I want to keep their memories alive.”

Post Traumatic Stress hits close to home for Meyer, who said he struggled with suicidal thoughts himself, but not for the reasons that people believed.

“When I was suicidal, I wasn’t thinking about myself,” Meyer said. “I was thinking about being a burden on my family and others, and there’s a lot of people I’ve met with Post Traumatic Stress that feel the same way. I know a lot of widows and widowers that lost their loved ones that lost their loved ones, and they struggle five to 10 years down the road. They’re still struggling. My message is for those that are in that dark place to continue. Don’t think that you’re being a burden on your family. Keep moving forward.”

While his own struggle with PTS comes from his experiences in the military, Meyer knows that anyone who has suffered any trauma is susceptible. He said this battle isn’t exclusive to veterans.

“Anyone can be susceptible to Post Traumatic Stress given a traumatic event,” Meyer said. “My mission is to get the word out there to educate people and get rid of the stigmas attached to Post Traumatic Stress and get some help for people.”

While the march will finish at the end of the 628th mile, the journey is only beginning. Meyer has a big message to share for those suffering with Post Traumatic Stress—keep fighting, and don’t fight alone.

“It is extremely debilitating without help. You can go from down the dark side where you’re suicidal and become a member of society again, and overcoming those hurdles aren’t easy, but you step it up and that’s what you do. You overcome those hurdles,” Meyer said. “Each mile of pain that it causes me, I keep thinking over and over, never quit. I want people to know who are struggling and contemplating suicide to never quit and to continue working hard, whether it be working on triggers, nightmares, whatever it may be. Don’t quit, and continue on with life and become a productive member of society.”

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