Paducah 'Ruck March' May 27 to Help Veterans
By West Kentucky Star Staff
PADUCAH, KY - The number 22 might not mean much to most people, but a local resident is spreading awareness about a startling statistic that she is working hard to help eliminate. 

"We lose 22 plus every day to veteran suicide," says Dana O'Key, who spoke on the Greg Dunker Show about Operation Zero, an organization that was founded to help end veteran suicide." In fact, we've lost more US troops from suicide than have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001."

Operation Zero has the stated goal of reducing that number to zero. 

According to the Op-zero website, suicide has become the leading cause of death in the U.S. Military - exceeding accidents, car crashes, and even combat.

Paducah Operation Zero has scheduled a "Ruck March" for Saturday, May 27. O'Key explains exactly what that is. "It's our Bluegrass Battle Zero Ruck March. It's Saturday, May 27. You can opt to carry a ruck sack, which is a backpack that is weighted. Many of us are going to be weighting our backpacks with 22 pounds to signify the 22 plus veterans we lose a day. It's a march, not a run, so this is great for all activity levels. We want everyone there to show our support for our troops." She said.

The 10k march will begin at 8 a.m. at the Paducah Riverfront, and will feature several speakers and other events before the march begins. Tickets are $50.

"We'll have some opening ceremonies before, and some other events going on that morning. Some speakers from the local area will be there. We're going to honor those we've lost, and thank those we still have." O'Key said.

All funds raised from the event will go to the local Miles Meredith Paducah chapter of the Disabled American Veterans, a charity that O'Key says does incredible work helping veterans.

O'Key said she got involved with the program after a good friend who served in Iraq needed help. "A dear friend of mine started this, David Phelps. He's a staff sergeant with the National Guard. He is an Iraq War veteran, and we've known each other since the third grade. He has a wonderful family, and they're all heavily involved. They needed help, so this is how I wanted to help out."

Click the link below to register for the Ruck March, or to learn more about Operation Zero.

On the Net:

Operation Zero Information

Published 04:16 PM, Thursday May. 18, 2017
Updated 11:36 AM, Friday May. 19, 2017

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