Barksdale AFB running to remember veterans lost to suicide

Earlier this year, Barksdale AFB made changes to the West Gate area to increase  security, slow...
Earlier this year, Barksdale AFB made changes to the West Gate area to increase security, slow traffic and quicken the process of visiting the base.
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 5:05 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2021 at 9:36 PM CDT
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BARKSDALE AFB, La. (KSLA) - It is a staggering statistic: 17 veterans in the United States die by suicide each day, according to a report from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

To remember these individuals, the Barksdale Air Force Base community came together on Friday, Sept. 17 for ‘Laps 4 Life’.

Participants ran or walked 22 laps around the track at the Senior Airman Bell Fitness Center. Those taking part can also opt to run or walk for 22 minutes straight.

“A lot of airmen are afraid to speak out, but having these events and helping agencies come out and show face and get to know them, it makes it a lot easier for airmen to talk about things they may be going through,” said Senior Airman Jessika Collie. “I actually know five people who have committed suicide. People from my hometown, people from the military. Just seeing that made me want to be a part of something like this to let people know they are not alone.”

The event began at 8 a.m. with opening remarks from the 2nd Bomb Wing Vice Commander Joseph McKenna.

“We cannot stop talking about suicide awareness,” said McKenna. “It’s incredibly important. We have raised awareness for suicide prevention during the month of September, but it’s important that on September 30, that isn’t the last day we talk about it. We need to be talking about this all year.”

If you are struggling, do not hesitate to call the Suicide Prevention Hotline: (800) 273-8255.

For more information on National Suicide Prevention Month, click here.

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