‘Operation: Ruck It’ to raise awareness of veteran suicides

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The Ma Deuce Deuce truck. PHOTO BY DENNIS ADDESSO.

BRICK TOWNSHIP — Veterans organizations Ma Deuce Deuce and Warhorse SCUBA are teaming up to raise awareness about veteran suicide through Operation: Ruck It — a 22 kilometer ruck march from Brick Township to Seaside.

“Our nation’s heroes return home not only missing those who were once at their side in combat, but also of piece of them many never get back,” said Dennis Addesso, veteran and founder of Ma Deuce Deuce, adding that this is the first march of its kind for his organization.

“We were inspired to create an event like this to … raise awareness of the 22 daily veteran suicide epidemic as well as become affiliated with other veteran organizations with the common goal: let our heroes know that help is out there,” he said.

The march will be held on July 22, with marchers meeting at Brick’s Trader’s Cove Marina at 7:30 a.m. Throughout the 22 kilometer — or 13.6 mile — course, marchers have the option of wearing a 22 lb. “ruck,” a military term for a backpack, to remind them of the burdens carried by veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] on a daily basis.

“Many of us have driven from Point Pleasant to Seaside, but how many have done it with a wild pack of bearded, tattooed and/or beastly buff veterans with flags, packs and every ounce of ‘Murica flowing through their veins,” Mr. Addesso said.

Rucks are optional for marchers and rest stops will be set up along the route, according to Mr. Addesso.

Registration is $22 and sponsorship opportunities are available in three levels: gold level for $222, silver level for $122 and bronze level for $50.

To register, visit www.warhorsescuba.com.

For more on this story, read The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.