Veteran nears end of walk for suicide awareness

Ottawa County

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A U.S. Marine Corps veteran continued his Lake Michigan circle tour in the rain Sunday afternoon.

Travis Snyder has almost completed his journey to raise awareness for the high suicide rate among veterans.

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I’m just thankful, really grateful for everything that’s happened these last few weeks,” Snyder said in Holland. “I never considered being the right person. I just considered being a person that had the time and the passion to do it. And I just went out and did it.”

Snyder served in the military from 2012 to 2018, during which time he was deployed in Afghanistan for seven months.

After returning home, he traded in his boots for sneakers and picked up a new backpack. Partnering with Mission 22, he has carried it nearly 1,000 miles while circling Lake Michigan to remember the 20 to 22 veterans who die by suicide every day.

Travis Snyder walking from Holland to Grand Haven, day 36. (Sept. 29, 2019)

“When you come back home from enduring those challenges, it takes a toll on your mental state. And we want them to stick around, we want them here. They’re desired, they’re needed, they’re wanted, they’re loved, and we want them to know they’re still cared for after they made their sacrifice,” Snyder said.

Roger Klunder, a Vietnam War veteran, said Snyder’s walk is making a difference.

“I think what Travis is doing is bringing to the forefront: here is the fact that there are people out there who need help,” Klunder said.

After 36 days and hundreds of miles, Snyder is in the final leg of his journey. He’ll finish in Manistee Oct. 6. 

He says that he will go back to civilian life after he hangs up his tired sneakers. He plans on moving back to Holland, getting a job and starting over again.

“But there’s part of me that doesn’t want the adventure to be over,” Snyder said. “I want it to keep going after the walk is over.”

If you are a veteran and are in need of support you can call 1.800.273.TALK (8255) or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s website.

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