Veterans plan hike for survival

By  | 

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Veterans are doing what they can for other veterans who may be struggling with life after war. As Brian Mastre found out – vets across the country are organizing events that truly stand out to any observer.

Healing comes in many forms.

“We understand. It looks ridiculous. It’s healing,” said veteran Alex Bratt. “This hike is about the veterans.”

It starts with the short shorts – known as silkies when they were serving in the military.

“If they’re going to make us go on a battalion death run, the idea is how belligerent can we be? So let’s get the shortest and shiniest shorts we can,” said veteran Jake Fry.

For these veterans, they’re showing off what they plan to wear for the official hike in downtown Omaha next month.

“You take something like your pain and misery, but you find something totally ridiculous to bond over and make it more comical. It helps you tolerate the circumstances much better,” said veteran Rob Burks.

It’s a hike about brotherhood and survival for those who made it home. No one wants to lose another veteran to suicide.

“I don’t know how more incredible it can feel when you’re told your event is saving lives. That’s what it’s about,” said Bratt.

The Omaha hike features a collaborative effort among veteran organizations like Irreverent Warriors, United States Marine Corps League and Nebraska Veterans Outreach.

“It’s really about healing through humor. It’s reigniting that sense of brotherhood and camaraderie,” said veteran Adam Larose.

“We’ve got California, Iowa, Texas, Nebraska, Alaska, Kansas, Minnesota – all coming in for this event. We’re hoping to make the biggest veteran-only event in the Midwest,” said Bratt.

So on May 12th – when you see all the silkies gliding through the Gene Leahy Mall – even going down the iconic slide – remember it’s about a sense of community and a sense of humor – two things that can help one survive the mental wounds of war.

“We’re going to canvass Omaha and let everyone know we’re here. We’re going to make sure we see the city and have fun doing it,” said Bratt.

In order to take part – there’s just one requirement – you must be a veteran. Wearing silkies is optional.

The roughly 10 mile hike has several stops but you must register for the free event. Click here for more information.