After serving his country, one Plainfield veteran is special mission to prevent more veterans from becoming victims of suicide.
Former marine and Plainfield native Steven Lesage is packing for a trip that most people would never even think of undertaking.
The 32-year-old Lesage is getting ready for a 2,200 mile trek through the Appalachian Trail.
The hike is part of Carry the Fallen, which is a hiking event for active heroes. The mission of active heroes is to help eliminate suicide among veterans.
Lesage said suicides among veterans happen far too often.
“Right now, the estimate is roughly 22 veterans a day commit suicide that's a little over one a minute,” Lesage said. “If you times that by a whole year, it's a quite a bit.”
After enlisting twice in the Marines and coming back to civilian life twice, Lesage said he had trouble readjusting to society.
“Fell into depression. Didn't really know what I wanted to do with life,” Lesage said. “I didn't hate my life but all I would do was drink.”
But, Lesage said he eventually got his life back on track.
“I was in PA and I finally just told myself you need to work on yourself, get your life straight,” Lesage said.
Lesage said he did and now he wants to help others.
Lesage starts his journey in Georgia next week. On March 1, he's hoping to raise money for the cause.
I'd love to reach the $25,000 goal,” Lesage said. “But if I can get more attention towards the cause, towards the Carry the Fallen, towards more veterans and their families knowing about it and what to do that's one less person a day that commits suicide.”
Lesage said he wants everyone to know that it's OK to ask for help.
“Don't feel ashamed,” Lesage said. “You don't have to feel any less of a person for swallowing your pride and everyone needs help now and then.”
There will be a fundraiser for Carry the Fallen and Lesage's journey this Saturday at Happy Jacks Sports Bar in Plainfield at 1 p.m.
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