COLORADO SPRINGS — According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, 20 current or former military members die by suicide every day. Those with Mt. Carmel said the Department of Veteran Affairs has recorded a higher veteran suicide in Colorado than the national average.
Retired Army First Sergeant Timothy Gore lives in Colorado Springs, and retired in 2005 after 20 years of service. During his service, he helped counsel soldiers through mental health issues.
"Actually had a person that I thought I could help, that I probably didn't do a good enough job of working with, and he actually completed suicide. And that's kind of what's always stuck with me. It's that person right there, that life, that could still be here... It never goes away, you live with it every day, you always question yourself, especially in a leadership position, where I was kind of responsible for counseling this person. And if I could have done a little more, if I would have paid a little more attention, listened a little more, been a little more proactive, that life would have still been here. So, it's an emptiness of that life, and you feel that person with you," said Gore.
As a way to raise awareness and money for veteran suicide prevention, Gore will be running 150 miles through the North Dakota Badlands on September 18 as part of the Maah Daah Hey Buck-Fifty MTB Race.
"Representative of the challenge that veterans face when dealing with suicidal thoughts, or wanting to go to counseling, PTSD, whatever it is, right. Because it's unsupported. There's nobody out there saying which way to go, you've got to figure that out," said Gore.
Gore wants to raise $50,000 through the run, which will be donated to Mt. Carmel counseling services. Gore has used Mt. Carmel for his own mental health.
"When you walk into Mt. Carmel, you don't get ignored... They really got to the real heart of the matter, and that's how we dug into the sexual abuse, and into my time as a drill sergeant, and my time in combat... You know that truth is in there, that you are worthy, that you are benefiting other people. They pull that out," said Gore about the counselors about Mt. Carmel.
Those with Mt. Carmel said they see around 150 veterans a week for their counseling services but still have a waitlist. Gore hopes this fundraiser will provide the resources needed for everyone to access the care.
Gore said not many people do this run, because of the extreme difficulty. "None of this is supposed to be easy, except, going to get counseling is supposed to be easy," said Gore.
If you would like to donate to the run, text 150 to 44321 or CLICK HERE.