Veterans stage life-saving hike in Omaha

Published: May. 13, 2018 at 11:57 AM CDT
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If you happened to be in downtown Omaha Saturday you may have wondered about the veterans in shorts and backpacks.

Those shorts are known as Silkies. The vets would wear them during long runs while in the military - their way of healing through humor.

We caught up with them during their Hike for Survival, on break at the Havana Garage in the Old Market.

More than 150 veterans hiked around downtown to support each other in the quest to save lives by keeping other vets from suicide.

Omaha’s Mark Fleming held a picture, explaining "This is my roommate. He took his life seven weeks ago and I ended up finding him. A lot of these folks don't know Craig but they still hurt because it reminds them of their buddy who took their life. Or it reminds them of something they're going through mentally and trying to work themselves out of. That's what this event is for - to help us heal and for it to stop."

Lincoln’s Alex Bratt said, "I think it's important that we're trying to stress that it's not just the veteran who loses his life - it's also people like Mark and all of us. Everyone who loses their friend - it hits home with everybody."

The Omaha hike was a collaborative effort among veteran organizations: Irreverent Warriors; U.S. Marine Corps League and Nebraska Veterans Outreach.

Omaha is one of 24 cities hosting the event this year to prevent veteran suicide.