Washington Evening Journal
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Soldier marches for Veteran Suicide Awareness
Sergeant prepares for 40 mile ruck march to raise awareness about veteran suicide
Jan. 31, 2023 10:35 am
NEW LONDON — Army National Guard Sgt. Sawyer Foster invites the communities between New London and Washington to partner with him as he raises awareness and funds for Mission 22 which addresses veteran suicide as he prepares to make a ruck march from New London to Washington.
Previously, Foster completed two other 22-mile ruck marches with his service brothers.
“Before I did it from Burlington that are memorial to New London Veterans Memorial, which is 22 miles,” Foster said. “And I chose that because there's 22 veterans commit suicide every single day.”
“I think our first year the goal was to raise $1,000 and we raised $3,000,” he said. “You can tell the support throughout the community.”
Those previous ruck marches raised a total of over $6,000 donated directly to Mission 22.
“This year, I have the same goal of raising $3,000,” Foster said. “However, I will be upping the ante and completing a 40 mile ruck march on Feb. 18 with 45 pounds from the New London, Iowa Veterans Memorial to the Washington, Iowa Veterans Memorial, as fast as possible.”
Foster estimates it will take him 12 hours to complete the 40 miles.
Foster welcomes any veterans or military service members to join him on the ruck march, but does intend to make the march as quickly as possible.
According to Foster, “Mission 22, my nonprofit of choice, provides support to Veterans and their families when they need it most; right now. Through a comprehensive approach of outreach, events, and programs, they promote long-term wellness and sustainable growth.”
Mission 22 is a nonprofit founded by veterans.
We provide extensive, personalized support and resources to help Veterans and their families thrive. According to Mission 22’s website, they offer programs for Veterans and military spouses, “from biometric monitoring of stress; to sleep, and activity levels, meditation and coaching; to exercise programs and a wellness supplement regimen; to books and learning resources to help Veterans put their experience in context.”
Foster takes care of his own mental health by staying active.
“I've never I've never had to go through the stressors of combat,” Foster said. “But for me, I mean, I always like to stay active, and stay physical. So, I work out.”
“I'm big into bow hunting,” he said. “So, that's always therapeutic.”
“America’s Veterans make our society stronger,” Mission 22 states. “They deserve a community worthy of all they have given, and all they will yet achieve. We are proud to continue designing programs for Veterans and their families, and to welcome them into our community.”
“Because for most people in the military, they come home and the biggest thing is they lose that sense of purpose,” Foster said. “So, you provide things with purpose like jujitsu or archery or the things Mission 22 is doing and it's really therapeutic for a lot of guys and women.”
“This cause has a deep meaning to me and it would mean the world to me if you would donate however you feel appropriate and share to get the message out,” Foster said in a Facebook post pinned to the top of his page.
A Danville High School Graduate, Foster has served four years with the Army National Guard and currently works as a recruiter in Washington.
Foster recently returned from a nine-month deployment in Africa this past October.
“My uncle was in the Marine Corps and all of my grandpa's have served,” Foster said. “I've never had an experience with a family member veteran committing suicide, but I do know how bad it is for many of them.”
“So, I wouldn't say that I've been affected personally by the suicide part, but I have seen the PTSD side and things like that,” he said.
While Foster currently lives in Iowa City, he and his new wife, Sydney, look forward to moving to their new home in Crawfordsville shortly.
To make donations, visit Sawyer Foster’s Facebook page and follow the link for the Mission 22 fundraiser pinned to the top of his page.
For more information about the ruck march Feb. 18 contact Foster via email at email@example.com