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Veterans Walking Across America

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    An alarming statistic is sending a small group of veterans on a journey across 12 states to the nation's capital...and tonight they stopped in Joplin 
An average of 22 veterans a day commit suicide.
    That's why these vets have spent the last two and a half months *walking* to Washington, D.C.
    Adam Lingo, Jason Bebo, and Joe Cox, all served together in the same platoon in Iraq.
They've lost 20 of their fellow comrades since returning home in 2012. 
    So Adam and Joe  set out from Santa Monica on a 22 week trip to Arlington National Cemetery. 
    Along the way, they made a stop here in Joplin, at VFW Post 534.
    They say one of those lost was, supporting their plans for this walk...
Lingo: "The day before April Fool's Day he posted his suicide note on Facebook...and by the time we had somebody at his house...the police had already taped the scene off and he'd killed himself."
    They say a lot of it, is the stress, and trauma, that many veterans bottle up.
Bebo: "We learned when we were in combat that there's no place for emotions, now, we'd be out on a patrol and unfortunately someone would get killed, within the next 24 hours you were saying goodbye to one of your soldiers or your best friend and all the raw emotions that you normally go through with grieving and loss, we didn't have time to deal with, we isolated it, put it in a box, and put it on the shelf."
    There's another goal to their 2,700 mile walk...calling attention to the help,  veterans going through hard times can get.. .
Lingo: "There's a lot of guys that are just not reaching out for that help, the help is there, there's a lot of people, it doesn't necessarily have to be the VA, there's plenty of people out in these communities that really care about veterans and are offering help...a lot of guys just aren't looking for that help."
    They pass along resources to those they meet along the way, from phone numbers to websites, in the hopes that struggling veterans will reach out for the help they need.

Chris Warner
Reporter

A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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Contact Chris:
417.624.0233 or 620.231.0400
cwarner@koamtv.com

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