Family of Marine who committed suicide organizes 5K/10K to bring awareness of veterans mental health

Event is happening September 11 in Conover
David West was a Lance Corporal in the United States Marine Corp.
David West was a Lance Corporal in the United States Marine Corp.(Submitted photo)
Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 8:24 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CONOVER, N.C. (WBTV) - The family of a Marine who committed suicide in 2014 has organized a 5K/10K run to bring awareness to the mental health of veterans.

“My son, David West, committed suicide on October 21, 2014,” wrote Peter West. “The sadness of late has been the number of suicides that seem to be taking place. Maybe I am hypersensitive to those stories but there seem to be more. David was a Lance Corporal in the United States Marine Corp. David’s commanding officer commented recently of three Marines committing suicide within three years of David’s. This needs to stop!”

The years following David West’s suicide have been difficult for the family, and they say they want to do all they can to keep more families from having to endure similar pain.

“It is hard to believe that it has been seven years since David died, West said. “Tammy, his mom, Chelsea, his sister, and I and the rest of our family have learned to fix our eyes on Jesus when we feel overcome by the grief. It is a grief that never goes away, but neither does Jesus. If not for His never ending presence and love, we would not be able to make it through the day. I thank God every day for my son, for the impact he had on my life and so many others. We all miss him every single day. Tammy and I have recognized that we need to be talking about it more and doing something. We are constantly seeking ways to tell his story in hopes that others will not make the same choice, especially our veterans.”

The West family has partnered with Stop Soldier Suicide and St. Michael’s All Airborne Chapter to host a 5K/10K Race on September 11 in Conover, NC. All the proceeds will be divided between Stop Soldier Suicide and St. Michael’s.

“On average, 22 vets a day take their own lives,” West added. “It’s difficult for them to reach out for help for many reasons. We want to make sure they know there is help available. The slogan we have used in the years since David died is “Don’t Let Your Story End!” That is our goal for this race and beyond is to make sure young men and women like David can find the help they need.”

To learn more and to sign up for the event: HOORAH.

Copyright 2021 WBTV. All rights reserved.