Weight Ruck Marchers bear reflects veterans who take their own lives

Published: May. 21, 2016 at 5:09 PM EDT|Updated: May. 21, 2016 at 9:55 PM EDT
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(Source: Todd Hoyer/WAVE 3 News)
(Source: Todd Hoyer/WAVE 3 News)
(Source: Todd Hoyer/WAVE 3 News)
(Source: Todd Hoyer/WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The rain was more an occasional guest than an annoyance, on their six-hour trudge from the Big Four Bridge in Waterfront Park to Sullivan College on Saturday.

But compared to their tours of duty, and comrades some lost, their Ruck March was no more taxing than a stroll.

"I've had some friends who've committed suicide," SFC (Sergeant first class) Jason Chang told WAVE 3 News. "There's not enough programs for returning veterans. This is one way we can bring awareness."

Chang enlisted 20 years ago, serving a tour in Operation Iraqi Freedom in medic logistics. He's been posted at Fort Knox the past three years, as an instructor, "teaching Sergeants how to be Sergeants," he said.

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Saturday's Ruck March coincided with Armed Forces Day, honoring men and women on active-duty and in reserve. The Kentucky Humane Society partnered with Active Heroesa charitable organization helping veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Last month, Active Heroes undertook a four-day march from Fort Campbell to Fort Knox; a distance of 138 miles.

Saturday, Chang carried a 22-pound pack, the weight representing the number of veterans who take their own lives each day.

"Hopefully, there'll come a time when I can walk with nothing," he said. "Twenty-two should be none."

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