Touching Lives: Active Heroes

Since today is Veteran’s day and a federal holiday, my better half is home from work, so I’ll be spending my time with him. In place of my usual Monday article, I am reposting this article about the non-profit organization called ACTIVE HEROES. They try to raise awareness about the epidemic of Veteran suicide. I’ll be back on Thursday with my next Fit by 50 post.


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On April 17, 2010, Troy Yokum set out on a 17 month hike across America, but the story of the non-profit organization Active Heroes goes back much farther than that, to December 7, 1941 to be exact, the day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.

You see, Troy’s grandfather, Joseph Leake, was one of 3 brothers from Raywick, Kentucky who walked 30 miles to Lebanon, Kentucky, the day after the bombing, to enlist in the military to help fight. According to the Active Heroes website, the brothers went to separate locations, and Joseph spent the war in the Pacific, helping to supply the Army troops. All three brothers survived the war, and returned to factory jobs at home.

Things weren’t going well for Joseph, however. Joseph suffered from depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and committed suicide in 1980.

After Troy grew up, he joined the army and was deployed to Iraq. During his time in the military, Troy soon realized many colleagues and friends suffered from many of the same symptoms as his Grandfather, Joseph. It was then that Troy made it his mission to do what he could to reduce the numbers of veterans who commit suicide.

Which brings us back to Troy’s hike, which he called HIKE FOR HEROES. During his 17 month journey across America, from April 17, 2010 to September 3, 2011, Troy hiked more than 7,800 miles across 37 states. This made him the first veteran ever to walk the length of 3 times across America, and was awarded Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Citizen Honors Medal. He raised $1.3 million for veterans and their families, and created Active Heroes, with a mission to end veteran suicide.



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One final message about Active Heroes from Justin Fitch, an army veteran who died of cancer.

Active Heroes has a nation wide network of peer mentors and nationwide resources. The map can be found here. Watch this video for more information:

If you know someone in need of assistance, see Active Heroes website, or call/text the following numbers:

For more information visit their website here: Active Heroes | Military Veteran Suicide | PTSD Help

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