Dozens participate in Run as One in Bellevue to support veterans

Run as One part of national event for veterans
Posted at 11:39 PM, Apr 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-01 23:39:00-04

BELLEVUE, Ky. -- After serving her country for seven years, Maria Hale says she still struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder.

But events like Run as One, a run that brings veterans and civilians together to show solidarity, helps her realize the support behind those who have served.

“There are people that can support you,” Hale said.

Saturday’s run in Bellevue was in honor of Marine veteran Clay Hunt. Hunt served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and he was a prominent advocate for veterans suffering from PTSD. Hunt took his own life in 2011 when he was 28 years old.

Veteran Derick Harper knows what it’s like to struggle with life post military.

“Going into the military can be tough because all of the sudden you're this individual and you're no longer an individual, you're part of a group,” Harper said.

Army veteran Jesse Neack was injured in Iraq in 2003. He said it took him years before he reached out for help.

“For me, I didn't go to the VA and seek help for two to three years after I got out, and it was because I started to see deterioration in relationships and realized that the common denominator was me,” Neack said.

But not all of the Run as One participants were veterans.

Jenny O’Donnell said she joined the movement to support veterans alongside her neighbors.

“It's a social support, and so even at mile two, it's ‘C'mon I'll run with ya!’ And at mile 13 it's,  'C'mon we've got this together,’” O’Donnell said.

Saturday’s run started at Avenue Brew; the coffee shop on Fairfield Avenue is owned by a veteran.