Veteran walks across US to raise awareness of suicides - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Veteran walks across US to raise awareness of suicides

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SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) - A former soldier has completed a 2,200-mile walk across much of the United States to draw attention to suicides among military veterans.

Army veteran Ernesto Rodriguez finished his trek from Clarksville, Tennessee, to the California coast Wednesday morning when he walked the last few miles and onto the Santa Monica Pier.

A police motorcycle officer led the way and a crowd of supporters followed as Rodriguez strode to the finish with American flags protruding from his backpack.

Rodriguez says he was inspired by a 2012 study that calculated an average of 22 veterans take their lives every day.

He tells KTTV that at one time he could have been one of them and he hopes to inspire those who are having "dark days" to keep pushing forward.

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