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Remembering the 22 veterans who die by suicide every day

Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 6:07 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - U.S. Army veteran Don Hildebrandt, “veterans are my brothers,” he says, and his friend Lani Rethaber, a U.S. Marine veteran, organized a rememberance walk.

“He’s like, lets do something to honor our veterans,” said Rethaber.

22 minutes around Marathon Park in honor of the 22 veterans who die by suicide every day.

“I just think that number is kind of shunned off by the public. They just don’t realize,” Hildebrandt said.

They want veterans who suffer from PTSD and TBI-- traumatic brain injury-- to know they have friends out there if they ever need one.

“Nothing to take lightly,” Hildebrandt said.

“If you’re a veteran, reach out to your buddies. Do the buddy check. If you haven’t heard from your buddies in a while, please give them a call,” Rethaber pleaded.

Rethaber works with Patriots K9 of Wisconsin, training pups to befriend veterans and be there for them.

“Service dogs provide a specific task to help mitigate a disability,” said Rethaber.

“They eat a lot of your bad words and bad thoughts,” a choked up Hildebrandt said about the service dogs,

The two already have every intention of returning for a bigger event in 2021.

“I’m just happy that these people, my brothers and sisters, veterans, that have shown up and non-veterans that support the cause are here,” added Hildebrandt.

Patriot K9 of Wisconsin is 100% free for qualified veterans. You can find more information here on how to apply, or how to provide financial assistance.

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