Motorcycle rides and clubs helps veterans find hope in the battle against suicide

Posted at 4:35 PM, May 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-02 18:35:56-04

MERIDIAN — Around one thousand bikers showed up at the High Desert Harley Davidson in Meridian for the 4th annual Ride for 22 event.

Motorcycle clubs and rides aim to promote mental health and raise awareness to the fact that on average 22 veterans committ suicide on a daily basis across the United States.

"Riding bikes is a way of therapy for us," said Drew Miller of the Combat Veterans Association, Payette Chapter. "Everybody calls it wind therapy."

The Ride for 22 helps cast a wide net of awareness that helps get the community involved in an effort to help struggling veterans.

"Our mission is to honor the fallen and raise awareness for veteran suicide especially in the state of Idaho," said Steve Exeen one of the founders of the Ride for 22. " Veterans account for 10.4 percent of the population in Idaho and suicide is the second leading cause of death in Idaho."

It's a tough road because there isn't an easy solution to helping prevent suicide, however, the open road gives veterans a common ground to help rebuild that camaraderie and it also helps to have the support of the public.

"We lose 22 veterans a day to suicide and it is something that should be zero," said Todd Godfrey of High Desert Harley Davidson. "This ride is just part of this educational awareness and getting some of these veterans the help they need."