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It's an effort to save 22 veterans every day. It's a staggering number that 22 veterans are lost every day to veteran suicide.
Save22 is looking to bring awareness to that issue. The initiative was started by Tom Indorf, a marine. Indorf began hiking one day and found it was his release. He then had a vision that if he could find his release, he wondered what happened if others joined him.
Albert Woodin, a Waynesburg resident, was one of those who jumped on board. Jason Rutledge, a marine from Carrollton and Nick Trusell, a navy veteran also joined. Indorf, Rutledge, Woodin and Trusell now form part of the board of Save22 along with Marsha Alexander, Dave Miller and Missy Indorf.
Woodin explained the group's effort is to raise awareness for the issue that can come from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He added, "a lot of it could be things that people have seen or dealt with, why they are in the service."
"A lot of us hide it for a long time," said Woodin, who also serves on Waynesburg's village council. "We're good at hiding things. We don't let a lot of people in. The circle is small. To get inside that circle, you've got to really earn somebody's trust. I think veterans when they speak to other veterans, that circle the walls are let down a little bit and I think its a quicker response."
Woodin, a veteran, has personal ties to the initiative. Earlier this year, he lost Mike Haggerty, a friend whom he served with in Desert Storm. He said another friend, Patrick Johnson, has struggled for a long time.
"Thank God he didn't take the other road," Woodin said. "He's still here with us. He struggles with the other side every day."
Woodin was a part of the Save22 hike in May that almost 700 people attended. A few less than 600 people made the five-mile hike. Woodin called the support "incredible."
The event also included events at the Carroll County Fairgrounds. Veterans were not the only people who were part of it.
"It was veterans, it was little kids, it was families of veterans, spouses, grandparents, mothers, dads all trying to show their support of what're doing," Woodin said. "It's a bad issue for veterans and civilians as well."
The next hike is already planned for May 6 of next year. Several other groups want to contribute to the cause including 22Kill, Platoon22, 22 Until None, the Mad Viking Beard Club and Nine Line Apparel. People in the community have also offered horses to ride or a place to camp if it is needed.
Woodin said the initiative has had an impact on other parts of the country. People have reached the group from Virginia, Texas and Minnesota.
Save22 is working toward becoming a 501(c)(3) organization. It is also trying to get an office locally.
"The biggest thing is the awareness," Woodin re-emphasized. "It has to be out there. People have to know there are people that do care. There are people locally 10 minutes away, five minutes away that you can pick up the phone and say I need to talk. We're going to drop what we're doing and we're going to be there. We have to do this. We can't let it go any longer."
Woodin also added, "We haven't crossed over to the civilian side of it yet, but if somebody were to contact us we wouldn't turn them away. We won't."
More information on Save22 can be found on its Facebook and Twitter pages.