Muskogee Man, Woman Hike 200 Miles To Take Stand Against Veteran Suicide

Wednesday, September 2nd 2020, 5:20 pm
By: Sawyer Buccy

A Muskogee man and woman have hiked more than 200 miles across parts of Oklahoma to raise awareness for veteran suicide.

On their journey, they’ve shared stories of people who they’ve already lost and encouraged others to reach out to check on the veterans they know.

“We are on Highway 75 headed towards Glenpool,” said Victor Lezema on a Facebook Live.

They traveled eight days, more than 200 miles, through scorching hot temperatures across Northeastern Oklahoma all to encourage people to reach out to veterans in their lives to make sure they know they are not alone.

“On my bag I am carrying four men that I served with and knew very closely. I am going to talk about each one the next four days,” said Lezema.

Lezema and Kaylin Riede of The Barracks in Muskogee said they are past raising awareness for veteran suicide, this hike is to encourage people to do something to make a difference.

"The goal is for us to get to them before that darkness takes over," said Lezema.

The pictures and memories of men who they have already lost to suicide were a constant reminder that every step, every mile, had a greater purpose.

"Today's hike is for my buddy Captain Ben Adeyemi. We called him Ben. That is him right there," said Lezema. "Today's hike is for Glen Loving. Lovin, is what I used to call him. Today is day 6 and this is my cousin, we stayed really close. He was like my brother.”

These were good men, who meant the world to the people who loved them.

"If you are thinking about doing this, you are leaving behind a lot of these people who love you with questions that are unanswered like why? If it was that bad, why didn't you reach out to me because I would've jumped on a plane, I would've driven across the country just for you, for anybody," said Lezema.

There were intense miles, intense days, moments they wanted to give up, moments of celebration,

"Everyone was friendly, talking about how much they support us, bringing us waters," said Lezema.

The finish line made every mile worth it.

"Walking down, thinking about these stories, it gets to me," said Lezema, "Share all of these videos, let those veterans know that they matter."

For more information about The Barracks in Muskogee, visit the Facebook page here.