Silkies Hike seeks to prevent veteran suicide - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Silkies Hike seeks to prevent veteran suicide

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - On Saturday, hundreds of people came together to hike De Anza Cove, using humor to address serious topics like preventing veteran suicide.

The non-profit Irreverent Warriors hosted its second annual Silkies Hike around Mission Bay. The hike was 22 kilometers, and hikers carried 22 kilograms on their back - representing the 22 U.S. Veterans who die from suicide each day.

"The hike is the therapy itself. It's the communication and relationship you establish with everyone," said Ethan Skeim, USMC veteran.

The Silkies Hike, done in green undies made famous by Marines, was founded by two marines who lost friends to suicide. It all started in San Diego in 2015, but has grown across the county. It's mission has been to use humor to heal the wounds of war.

Army veteran Shannon Tabler flew in from Boston. While doing the hike, she has made life-long friendships with others from across the nation.

"It's for the soul. I come back and I am rejuvenated and I am happy. I am at peace," said Tabler.

Army veteran Stefanie Parker's father, a marine, committed suicide while on deployment. "It recreates my ability not to feel guilty and I can do something now," she said.

Stefanie's father was Cindy McNally's husband of 25-years. She believes the hikes have helped her become a blessing. She is now the National Silkie's Hike coordinator.

"People call me mom or mamma bear. These are my children and it really has given me a sense of purpose," she said.

For more information on the Veterans Suicide Prevention Project, click here.

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