Marine Plants American Flag Every Mile for Veterans With PTSD

Runner's World | 1/20/2020 | Andrew Dawson
cindy95240cindy95240 (Posted by) Level 3
To close out her 2019, Lupita Hernandez stopped after every mile to plant a small flag along Interstate-10 between Houston and San Antonio. Each pause in her 200-mile run was to honor a fellow veteran battling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), something she has dealt with since she retired from the Marines in 2004.

PTSD still affects her life each day, whether personally or in Hernandez’s work in the Veteran Treatment Court in Harris County, Texas. On average, 22 veterans commit suicide everyday, and that’s a statistic that is always on her mind.

Awareness - Stigma - Health - PTSD - Hernandez

“I wanted to bring awareness to the stigma around mental health and PTSD,” Hernandez told Runner’s World. “We need to understand and treat the condition better, whether that’s hearing about the veterans who are thriving with PTSD or those suffering more or have lost their lives to it.”

When the 41-year-old attended an expedition trip for veterans called No Barriers Warriors in 2019, she was tasked with making a pledge that involved the community. Her veteran community was the obvious choice, but picking what to do and how to do it was a struggle.

Running - Habit - Outlet - Anxiety - Depression

The running habit she picked up in 2015 was an outlet for the anxiety and depression she was feeling at the time. She had done 50 and 100 milers, so why not try to run 200 miles from her hometown of Houston to San Antonio to raise money for the Sgt. Amon Gift Memorial Fund, which supports veterans and their families who are affected by PTSD.

“I live by the mantra, ‘If not me, then who?’” Hernandez said. “I know if I didn’t do this, who would? Especially as a female, I was inspired to do this for my brothers and sisters.”

Addition - Run - Hernandez - Flag

In addition to just completing the run, Hernandez planned to carry a different flag with her for...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Runner's World
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