Hawkeyes, Huskers marching to raise awareness of veteran suicide - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hawkeyes, Huskers marching to raise awareness of veteran suicide

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Photo of 2015 march courtesy of the University of Iowa. Photo of 2015 march courtesy of the University of Iowa.
Photo courtesy of @BigRedAD on Twitter. Photo courtesy of @BigRedAD on Twitter.
IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Veterans from both the University of Iowa and the University of Nebraska are marching 347 miles, that's the distance from Memorial Stadium in Lincoln to Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

The idea of the march is to raise awareness for veteran suicide.

People from the University of Iowa Veterans Association gathered their things today to prepare for the trek.

The plan is to end up at Kinnick Stadium in time for the football game as the Hawkeyes take on the Huskers Thanksgiving weekend.

Veterans are packing meaningful items for the journey.

"Stuff from Iraq, This is a thing that I got from a guy in Iraq," says Will Hanchett, as he showed us his items.

"We made a lot of these in Iraq we used to bunker ourselves in sandbags they protected us from trap nose 762 rounds so everybody asked what I was gonna bring I said a sandbag," Kristopher Latorre told us, Vice President of UI Veterans Association.

Some items are literally heavy and others carry heavy emotions.

"These are all the guys that I've known and worked with that you know have died in the last 15 years of the War On Terror either to combat action or suicide," says Hanchett, while showing us their photos.

"As a veteran it's devastating because it's just too much, one is too many," Drew Wherry, the President of UI Veterans Association told us.

Veterans from the University of Nebraska left Thursday to head towards the original Freedom Rock in western Iowa where they will hand off the game football to the Iowa group who will carry the ball and the message back to Kinnick.

"It's that stigma that you know I'm a soldier, I'm a warrior, I'm a Marine you know I don't need to get help, I can do this by myself  but in the case it's really not true," Latorre says.

"As of yesterday I had another friend that I worked with just a couple years ago, committed suicide too, It's a huge problem. It's almost, it's an epidemic," Hanchett told us.

The group wants veterans to know it's okay to seek help, the 22 items or 22 pounds they are each carrying on the march represent the number of veterans who commit suicide each day.

The march is being done by multiple teams in shifts.

One veteran told KWWL he served in Fallujah with one of the guys who is coming from Nebraska, he says it will be an honor to reconnect and see him again. 

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