ROYAL AIR FORCE MOLESWORTH, England --
U.S. and U.K. veterans and active-duty military members from across the United Kingdom are joining together for the Irreverent Warriors Silkies Hike on RAF Molesworth, England, Sept. 4, 2021, to build camaraderie and to prevent military suicides.
Miguel Torres, security officer at RAF Wyton and a Marine veteran, and U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Bradford Schroeder, security officer at RAF Molesworth, are working together to host the hike.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
The Irreverent Warriors mission is “to bring veterans together using humor and camaraderie to improve mental health and prevent veteran suicide.” Their vision is “to be the force that unites the veteran community and drives a healthy culture within its members. Through creative engagements, events, and strong veteran-based support networks, we will be known as the catalyst for improving the veteran outlook.”
“Irreverent Warriors is a non-profit that was started in California in 2015 by a former Marine,” said Schroeder. “It was created to honor some of his friends who after their service, committed suicide. After leaving the service, he wanted to keep people connected together and keep it together to prevent suicide.”
With humor and conversations, Torres and Schroeder hope to build a stronger cohesive military community in the U.K.
“The number 22 is about the 22 kilometers and the 22 kilograms; it’s for the 22 veterans who take their lives every day,” said Schroeder during the last mini hike. “As I go on I feel sore, but it's overshadowed by the conversations I have. It’s really energizing to hear everyone, and the jokes and laughter. We’re doing some fitness and keeping everyone ahead. My feet are a little sore but that will pass.”
This will be the first Irreverent Warriors Silkies Hike done in the U.K., joining members of the U.S. and U.K. military community.
Torres served as a Marine from 2001 to 2005. He has seen the tragic effect suicide has on those around.
“I know people who have been deeply wounded by it,” said Torres. “I’ve been deeply impacted by anxiety and depression in my own life. I know how quickly one can spiral out of control, and how a lack of purpose after the military can send you out of control. We want to bring back veterans into the family.”
Throughout the past few months, Schroeder hosted four mini hikes to increase interest in the group and provide a chance to build up strength and endurance.
“We have so many junior service members who go to their dorms then go to work and back again,” said Schroeder. “I thought that it would be a great way to get people out. The whole main point is to bring veterans together. It’s great to take someone who feels isolated and depressed and show them that they still matter and press on.”
“To all veterans and actively serving personnel, I want them to know that they are invited. This is home. Come be with your family so we can spend time together and talk, fool around and joke. Always remember that we’re all dealing with stuff and it’s a way to work through that together. For anyone non-veteran or non-active duty, come volunteer and cheer. ”
To register for the hike, click here: www.irreverentwarriors.com/events
For further questions or to volunteer, please email: email@example.com
If you or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention available 24/7, year-round. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, or text 838255.