Fifth annual Mission 22 Heroes Hike raising awareness for veterans battling suicide

HILL CITY, S.D. — Mission 22, the group named for the 22 average daily suicides among active-duty military members and veterans marked it’s Fifth annual Heroes Hike in the Hills over the weekend.

On Sunday, participants had two hiking options this year, a seven mile hike, or a new 22 mile hike in honor of the service members who have taken their lives. Those participating in the longer hike started in Rochford, and made their way to Hill City to finish the seven mile hike in Tracy Park. Regarding the turnout, organizers were pleased to see so much support.

“Turnouts been amazing,” said South Dakotas state leader for Mission 22, Chris Cooper. “We started this hike five years ago, with I think it was 27 people. This year, last I checked last night, we were right around 160 people who registered for the hike. Numbers have actually gone up quite a bit. They’ve almost doubled every year. We would have had a lot more if it wasn’t for COVID, but being that we had COVID, it was still pretty really good numbers for it.”

Along the routes were photos of veterans who had taken their lives, and a reminder that war doesn’t always end when soldiers return home.

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