Nationally, 22 veterans take their lives every day. It's a battle within, that one group in Oklahoma wants to combat. Two combat veterans in Oklahoma share their stories of hopelessness following active duty to raise awareness for suicide prevention.
“You're trained to be a killer, you're trained to defend the country,” said Cpl. Chad Allcox, USMC.
Cpl. Allcox fought at the Battle of Fallujah in 2004 when his battalion lost 42 marines.
“Losing that many was extremely tough,” he said. “While you're over there you kind of just go numb, it almost seems surreal like a video game.”
It wasn't until the United States Marine Corps veteran came home that the reality set in.
“You feel alone and unsure of what to do because you're so used to that close support system,” Cpl. Allcox said.
Homeless, he became addicted to alcohol and attempted suicide, an all-time low that eventually connected him to other veterans like HM2 Derek Jump.
“For me becoming a part of that brotherhood defined me, still defines me,” said HM2 Derek Jump, US Navy corpsman.
After two tours in Iraq, the 10-year combat veteran also found it hard to transition to civilian life suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I came back to Oklahoma in 2012 when I got out of the military and I didn't really have anybody to talk to,” Jump remembers. “It was hard for me to relate to regular civilians.”
Through the Warriors for Freedom Foundation, the two have built a new comradery.
“It's rough sharing that personal side of you but on the other side, the support that you gain and the friends that you make, it’s very helpful to me,” HM2 Jump said.
Now the two combat veterans are reaching out to other veterans to show them suicide is not the answer.
“We all have our ups and downs, so taking your own life because you're at a low point, there's a way out of that and the biggest way out of that is other veterans,” said Cpl. Allcox.
The Warriors for Freedom Foundation is holding a veteran suicide prevention walk to remember the 22 veterans that commit suicide every day. The walk will be held on Saturday, September 23, 7 a.m., at Wheeler Park in Oklahoma City.
To more on the event and to register for the walk, click here. For more information on Warriors for Freedom’s Remember the 22 program, click here.