West Michigan marine makes fourth trip around Lake MI for suicide awareness
An estimated 17 veterans lose their lives to suicide each day.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story, published May 2nd, reported an estimated 22 veteran lives are taken by suicide each day. The correct number is 17, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs 2019 report. The story has been updated to reflect the correct data.
Travis Snyder is lacing up his boots for another trek around Lake Michigan. The marine veteran first set out to walk the more than 800 miles of shoreline in 2019, as an effort to raise awareness for mental health resources and veteran suicide prevention. As he prepares for his fourth walk around the lake, he told WGVU it brings up past memories of where it all began.
“Life is going on without you, so when you come back home not only are you trying to reconnect with family and friends, but it’s a matter of how to rediscover your purpose in life,” Snyder said when asked about the trials that can come when military personnel return to civilian life.
Snyder was enduring a rough season in 2019, which was only escalated when he learned his friend and former suitemate Geoffrey Hughes died by suicide.
“Up until that point in my unit, we had lost others before my time of service, but that was my first time experiencing loss up that close…Once we lost Jeff I would say I just felt led to do something and walking and hiking was the best thing I knew how to do,” Snyder said.
An estimated 17 veterans lose their lives to suicide each day, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs' 2019 report.
As Snyder embarks on his two-month journey, he said this year the conversation will be expanded. In addition to collecting donations for veteran support agencies like Mission 22, Snyder said he'll also be hosting daily social media conversations about issues like human trafficking, refugee needs and more. Supporters of Snyder follow him online under the username travishikeslakemi.