Veteran walks from 222-miles to Virginia Beach for military mental health awareness

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – This wasn’t the first time that Shane Stephenson has made the trip from Camp Lejeune to Virginia Beach. 

The Marine veteran seven months ago walked 222-miles from Camp Lejeune to Virginia Beach and did so the second time Saturday with his arrival coinciding with an event for wounded veterans and their families, and for families of fallen war heroes at the YMCA’s JT’s Camp Grom.

Stephens chose Camp Grom because their mission closely aligns with that of END 22, a project started by Virginia Beach resident, Bill “Chico” Ciccone after his son, SGT James Ciccone took his own life following a combat deployment in Iraq, according to event organizers.

Officials say that 22-veterans and active duty personnel take their own life every day. Veterans only make-up seven percent of the U.S. population but account for more than 20 percent of all suicides in the country.

Stephens set out on foot from Camp Lejeune on June 28th.

Holli Wood was also with Stephens on his journey.

To learn more about the organization END 22, click here.