WATERVLIET, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A New York veteran is walking through Capital Region carrying a skeleton.
His picture has been viewed almost 40,000 times on Facebook. That’s because the skeleton represents another one of his brothers in arms who took their own life.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In John Newcomb’s case, it’s worth tens of thousands.
“You are never too heavy, I will carry you.”
The mission of this army veteran from Watervliet is going viral.
8News sister station, NEWS10 ABC, caught up with him walking past the Albany VA carrying a 40-pound pack and a skeleton draped over his shoulders.
He’s spreading a powerful message that too many veterans are killed by suicide.
“Most of it was on compulsion. I just lost another one from my company.”
He’s traveled through Troy, Watervliet, and Latham and plans on walking across the country, hoping to make a difference.
The Department of Veterans Affairs says each day 20 veterans take their own life.
“It’s hard when you lose a loved one. I’ve lost a friend to suicide,” Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said.
An Iraqi war veteran himself, McCoy has launched a special outlet for veterans within their Hope app.
The app provides numbers to call and warning signs for friends and family.
“It’s the hardest thing and then you say you won’t let it happen again and then I saw another friend [take their own life]. It hurts so we try to do everything that we can to be there and give them a shoulder to lean on,” McCoy said.
Newcomb says taking that first step in getting help is the best thing veterans can do.
“Anything we deem burdensome were going to internalize and hold in our core until it rots us”