Downtown Business Hosts 2nd Annual Veterans Suicide Awareness Walk

Downtown Nutrition raises awareness to combat veteran suicide.


April 21, 2022

Last updated

May 27, 2022

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It is estimated that an average of 22 American Veterans die each day by suicide; which adds up to more than 30,000 preventable suicides in the last 20 years. In Pasco County, there are nearly 50,000 individuals who have served our country in the armed forces, making up approximately 10 percent of the population. 

For Jessica Long of Downtown Nutrition, bringing awareness to the problems that these former service members are facing is personal. Growing up with her father in the military, she runs Downtown Nutrition alongside a veteran, and several members of her family have served as well. 

“I’m just surrounded by veterans.”

This exposure has made the challenges veterans face all too real. With her Main Street business, Jessica wanted to do something to make a difference. In 2021, she organized the Veteran’s Suicide Awareness Walk, which raised five thousand dollars for local veteran charities - this year, she says, the goal is twenty thousand. 

“We bought 500 shirts. We are hoping we run out.” 

The proceeds from this year’s event will go to VetCatch and The Fallen Outdoors, both programs that work to help veterans reintegrate into civilian life while giving them a community of support. 

The 2.2-mile walk will be held on May 22 with walkers meeting at Downtown Nutrition at 1:00 pm for the check-in. The walk will begin at 2:22 pm at Sims Park and circle the downtown area, ending back at Downtown Nutrition. The cost of participation is $20 and includes a t-shirt, and there are sponsorship options available for local businesses. 

In addition to raising money for the charities, Jessica hopes that veterans will see the crowds walking and know they have the support of the civilians in their area.  

“We want to let other veterans know that there are people here for them. There is a community here that love and support them. We want our peers to know that they have a support system here.” 

 If you would like to walk or donate to show your support, you can find more information HERE.

Jessi (left) and Tori (right) stand in Downtown Nutrition next to the event flyer.
Jessi (left) and Tori (right) stand in Downtown Nutrition next to the event flyer for the Veteran's Suicide Awareness Walk.

By Elizabeth Cramton

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