Former Vice President Mike Pence joined veterans on Oct. 9 for the ”Trail to Zero” ride in Fort Wayne.
The “Trail to Zero” ride, hosted by BraveHearts, is an horse riding event with a mission to end veteran suicide along with helping veterans on the ride to heal and advance their horsemanship, according to the “Trail to Zero” website.
This year, BraveHearts have five rides scheduled in Bull Valley, Illinois; Chicago, Illinois; Lexington, Kentucky; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and New York City, New York.
Fort Wayne is the 7th and newest city on the organization’s calendar for this year.
According to the “Trail to Zero” website, 20 veterans die by suicide per day. Part of their mission is to bring the statistic to the forefront of Americans’ minds while also helping educate veterans and Americans about equine assisted services and the benefits that it has as an alternative approach to healing.
“It is our greatest hope that we may reach at least one veteran who is currently battling suicidal ideologies, letting them know that they are not alone, that their community cares and that equine assisted services may help,” their website stated. “We are forever grateful for the [New York Police Department] Mounted Unit, U.S. Park Police Mounted Horse Unit, the Chicago Mounted Unit and the [Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office] Mounted Patrol for standing behind us as we continue to ride until 20 becomes zero.”
The event began at 8 a.m. and lasted until 5 p.m. Pence joined the veterans on the ride at the University of Saint Francis and rode with the group to Buckner Park and ended at the Veteran’s National Memorial and Museum.
Pence gave a few remarks at the end of the ride at the Veteran’s National Memorial and Museum.
“I’m proud to say now, we’re recognizing as a nation, the unseen injuries of our heroes,” he said. “ … It’s heartbreaking to think that we lose 20 former service members a day in the United States. Men and women, we are doing better, we can continue to fight, we can ride the trails, we can reach out with compassion and make that number zero. “Let’s commit to that today.”