LONE OAK — As the Memorial Day holiday grows closer, multiple events are being scheduled in the area to raise awareness of how veterans face daily challenges with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has reported that approximately 22 veterans commit suicide each day after their deployment due to PTSD and TBI, which prompted the establishment of Mission 22, a nationwide organization dedicated to assisting veterans and their families cope with the issues.
Charles Barrow of Lone Oak is hosting a car show and 5K run in downtown Lone Oak on May 18 to benefit Mission 22, and said there is a personal reason behind the event.
“I suffer from PTSD,” he said.
Barrow, a veteran of the Seabees, spent 10 years in the U.S. Navy, with stops overseas in Japan, Guam, Cuba and elsewhere. The military life is a family tradition.
“Me, my dad and my uncle were all in Kuwait and Afghanistan at the same time,” Barrow said.
He is organizing the event alongside his sister, Franchesca Knight, who said everything connected to the car show and run is $22, from the car show sign-ups to the race registration to the cost of the T-shirts.
“Everything is going to Mission 22,” she said. “We just wanted to make everyone aware of the number.”
The goal of the project is to also reach out to other veterans who may need help.
Barrow said he has been receiving a great deal of positive feedback, not only from residents in and near Lone Oak, but from across the country.
“It is getting bigger and bigger and bigger,” he said. “Everything is falling into place.”
One of the people who has already signed up to participate is Jeremy Matherly of Sulphur Springs. Matherly conducted a walk/ride on June 28, 2018, alongside members of his family and friends, covering the 22 miles between his hometown and Greenville. The event was in conjunction with June’s designation as PTSD Awareness Month.
Matherly plans on attending the May 18 event, and bringing along Warfighter, his specially decorated 2014 Ford Mustang created in honor of veterans and those lost to suicide due to PTSD/TBI.
“On May 24 we will be escorting Carry The Load from the Arkansas/Texas state line to Dallas, setting up a Mission 22 tent at their Greenville rally stop,” Matherly said, before he embarks on his second annual 22 mile march on June 29.
The walk/run registration will begin at 8 a.m. and the event will begin at 9 a.m. May 18. Water will be provided at stops along the route. Participants in the car show need to be in place by 10:30 a.m. that day.
Those wanting additional information can send an email to Vetsmission903@outlook.com or call/text 903-413-6816.