A Marine veteran walked over 800 miles in 42 days for veteran suicide awareness

Travis Snyder walked 810 miles in 42 days to raise awareness for veteran suicide prevention.

(CNN)Travis Snyder left his job, sold his car, and got rid of his apartment, all in preparation for a quiet solo trip that would quickly become a community phenomenon.

On August 26, after meeting some friends for breakfast, he slung a bag of supplies on his back and took off walking down the highway in Manistee, Michigan.
Over the next 42 days, Snyder would hike 810 miles around Lake Michigan, posting daily updates and sharing words of thanks and encouragement.
He did all of this to raise awareness for veteran suicide prevention.
    Snyder is an ambassador for Mission 22, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing veteran suicide through treatment programs, memorials, and awareness campaigns.

    The wake-up call

    Snyder has a difficult personal connection with the national health concern that deeply affects military veterans.
    In April, a friend from his deployment unit in Afghanistan died by suicide, stunning Snyder and his friends.
    After witnessing the devastation of veteran suicide firsthand, Snyder took on a mission to raise awareness.
    "For my Marine brothers and I, that was a big shock to us," he told CNN. "I can't say that many of us knew a lot about his struggle, otherwise we would have reached out, and definitely would have helped in any way we could've. I guess you could say it was a wake-up call to check in on each other a little more often and to really make sure that we don't lose anybody else."
    There were over 6,000 known veteran suicide deaths in 2017, according to the most recent suicide data report by the US Department of Veteran Affairs. That's an average of about 16 veteran suicides a day.
    The Department of Veteran Affairs has declared veteran suicide prevention to be their highest clinical priority and has said they are dedicating significant resources to crisis intervention and mental health treatment, according to a recent strategy report.

    A flood of support