Travis Snyder is a United States marine who served his country from 2012 to 2018. He decided to not only show his support, but set out to bring attention to veteran suicide awareness by walking around Lake Michigan in Fall of 2019. A veteran walking 800 miles of shoreline ended up generating some serious attention for his cause.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of 20 veterans die every day from suicide. Snyder worked in collaboration with Mission 22, a non-profit charity that helps veterans and their families who are dealing with PTSD. His 42 day journey around the lake began and ended in Manistee, with so much attention by the end of it that a group of people even showed up on the last mile to walk alongside Snyder in the final stretch.
The coolest part is that the marine veteran didn't even advertise what he was doing. He sold his car in order to fund this mission that he felt compelled to embark on. He provided daily updates on a Facebook page called Veteran Suicide Awareness: Travis Hikes Around Lake Michigan which was dedicated to the journey. The Facebook page generated over 3,700 followers who all tuned in to watch the Marine corps veteran along his journey. He even found a kitten he named Gulliver during the trip (so you could follow along with "Gulliver's travels").
The page ended up going viral, which really helped amplify his message about suicide prevention. People were able to show up to support Snyder along the way by tuning in to his posts. Despite finishing his walk, he intends on keeping the page live by continuing to post words of encouragement for those suffering and provide resources.
People commented on Snyder's page with lots of love and support. Many people had lost loved ones to suicide and really appreciated what Snyder was doing to support veteran suicide prevention. It's impossible not be touched by looking through the posts and seeing his words of support for those suffering. Being open about the issues and providing resources to those suffering can help lead people to mental health treatment programs that could save their lives. Snyder also encourages people to be kind, adding that kindness can make a tremendous difference not only to those suffering with depression and PTSD but those who have experienced the loss of a loved one.