Riding for veteran suicide awareness

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Updated: October 17, 2017, 7:00 PM

HARVARD, Ill. (WIFR) - It's been more than 50 years since Bill Mercurio put on his military uniform. To this day, he says he'll never fully leave those days behind.

"When you come back from Vietnam, you kind of immediately go back into civilian life, so there's not a lot of time to decompress," explains Mercurio.

A year and a half ago, Mercurio found out about Bravehearts, a local organization that uses horses to help veterans cope with PTSD.

"Every day we see miracles that happen here at Bravehearts," says Program Director Jen Hazlewood, "Literally just knowing that it saves lives, it really does save lives here."

Now, Mercurio is joining 7 other riders on a trip to New York City. They will ride for 20 miles in honor of the 22 veterans who commit suicide every day, according to Bravehearts.

Mercurio says soldiers coming home from Vietnam were treated well, but men and women coming home from war today are getting more attention which he says is very important.

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HARVARD, Ill. (WIFR) - 22 veterans commit suicide every day in the United States, according to the area group Bravehearts Therapeutic Riding. One local veteran is riding to raise awareness of that number.

Bill Mercurio fought in Vietnam for two years, and he started riding horses with the non-profit, Bravehearts, a little over a year ago. He says the riding helps him cope with his PTSD.

Mercurio is getting ready to join 4 other riders in New York city to ride 20 miles in honor of the 20 veteran's who commit suicide each day.