ROWLETT, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas group is trying to change the disturbing trend of war veterans and first responders committing suicide.
More than a year ago, the Third Watch LE Motorcycle Club decided to raise awareness about the issue by walking.
What happened was a monthly event called “Walk the Bridge.”
“Let’s bring this out of the dark and shine some light on it. Let’s start talking about it at every level of government and in your cities,” explained Brian Wilburn also known as “12” in the club.
The motorcycle club is made up of current and retired police officers, firefighters and military. Among them is Barry Morris, who retired after 30 years with Texas DPS.
“The attitude in law enforcement for years and years has been to rub some dirt on it, get over it and get back out there,” said Morris “What we’re here to say is, it’s unacceptable. There’s got to be a better way than taking it out on yourself.”
The federal government says, on average, 17 veterans take their lives every day. That’s down from 22 suicides a day last year.
On the 22nd of each month, Third Watch and dozens more walk the Highway 66 bridge from Rowlett to Rockwall and back. That’s two miles.
“We figured if we get 11 people out here, we could do the symbolic 22,” said Wilburn.
The group believes their efforts are making a difference where it matters most.
“We saved three lives. We can say that definitively,” Wilburn proclaimed.
According to the group, two are local veterans and the third is a New York police officer who happened to see a past Walk the Bridge on Facebook Live.
Now Third Watch wants state and federal leaders to address the suicide issue head on.
“Somebody, at some point, is going to say wait a minute. Enough. And we want to be there when that happens so we can say here are some options. We are here to help,” Wilburn told CBS 11.
You can learn more about Third Watch LE and Walk the Bridge by clicking here.
If you know someone who is contemplating suicide, reach out. The Suicide and Crisis Center Hotline number in North Texas is (214) 828-1000.