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‘Trail to Zero’ through Manhattan raises awareness of veteran suicide

BraveHearts, the main equine rehabilitation program for veterans, launched into its fifth annual “Trail to Zero” journey through Manhattan on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Accompanied by the NYPD Mounted Unit and undeterred by the less-than-stellar climate forecast, the path stepped off at 102nd Road Transverse in Central Park. It stopped on the NYPD Substation on forty third Road in Instances Sq. and Engine 18 within the West Village earlier than continuing to the Freedom Towers for a second of silence. 

Day by day, 20 veterans die by suicide in america, and the 20-mile journey through Manhattan goals to elevate awareness of the psychological and emotional struggles former troopers expertise and honor the lives misplaced. 

Meggan Hill-McQueeney, president and COO of BraveHearts,  mentioned that the occasion desires to encourage veterans to become involved with the free program, which makes use of the non-traditional method of horse remedy to assist veterans heal. 

In accordance to the U.S. Division of Veterans Affairs, 10 to 30 % of veterans have PTSD, and research has proven that equine remedy considerably reduces emotional stress inside a reasonably quick time. 

“We’re just hoping to make the message louder that it a great way for vets to find solace and to get help,”  Hill-McQueeney mentioned. “We know people are struggling, but there’s help out there. And if they haven’t tried a horse, that’s what this message is all about: Getting involved with a program that has horses.”

Barry Gelbman, NYPD Inspector with the Mounted Unit, defined that his group supplied safety for the BraveHearts group on their journey through New York Metropolis. 

“The goal of the “Trail to Zero” journey is that we’ve got to journey zero miles, okay, in order that there’s no extra veteran suicide in america. They’re doing God’s work.” Inspector Gelbman mentioned,  referring to the BraveHearts group.  

Meggan Hill-McQueeney passes through Instances Sq.. Picture by Gabriele Holtermann
“Trail to Zero” veterans and their horses search shelter from the rain storm whereas the NYPD Mounted Unit gives safety. Picture by Gabriele Holtermann
“Trail to Zero” veterans Benjamin Jalove and Jonathan Byrne go to Engine 18 within the West Village. Picture by Gabriele Holtermann
“Trail to Zero” veterans and their horses pay tribute to the 9/11 victims. Picture by Gabriele Holtermann

The path made a pit cease at Engine Firm 18 within the West Village to refuel horses and riders, and firefighters had an opportunity to work together with the 2 and four-legged path members whereas they had been ready for the rain storm to cross. 

Jonathan Byrne, a former Marine, joined BraveHearts final November and began using in March. He admitted that he had been afraid of horses as a result of he was tossed off a horse as a teen, however Meggan Hill-McQueeney helped him overcome his concern. He now spends each Thursday and Friday on the facility.

“These horses are huge magnets for negative emotions,” Byrne mentioned. “They take all the negative emotion right out and leave me totally happy at the end of the day. I come in with a frown; I leave with a smile.”

 Brooke Milbocker, who additionally was with america Marine Corp, struggled with PTSD and habit and misplaced two relations and a buddy to suicide.

“It’s so important that people understand what’s going on and how important mental health is as well as physical health, and what we do with the horses is absolutely incredible,” Milbocker mentioned. “It’s so healing on so many different levels, and I just feel like people need to know more about it. It saved my life. And I’ve seen it transform so many other people’s lives.”

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