by Cori Hilsgen
More than 15 soldiers walked a 12-hour-trek from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 29 to honor fallen soldiers and to raise awareness about veteran suicide.
The walkers traveled from the American Legion in Albany to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Granite Post 428 in St. Cloud. Each of the walkers carried a 30- to 50- pound backpack during the trek.
The walk was part of a national event called “Carry the Fallen” to raise awareness for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Post 428 Ladies Auxiliary member Becky Carlson of St. Cloud was among the group who greeted the veterans when they arrived in St. Cloud. Walkers were greeted with a 21-gun salute, Taps and a steak dinner.
“Some of the veterans who walked were hurting when they got to the VFW,” Carlson said.
She said the current alarming rate of veteran suicide is at 22 percent.
Carlson lost her brother in the Vietnam War. She said there was a lot of coldness toward the soldiers during that era. It prompted her to want do something. For the past 12 years, Carlson has been sending 20 monthly individual care packages with a personal letter to each soldier.
Soldiers continue on their walk past St. Joseph March 29. More than 15 solders walked a 12-hour-trek from Albany to St. Cloud to honor fallen soldiers and to raise awareness about veteran suicide.
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people's stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.