Active Heroes non-profit strives to end Veteran suicide through activities, peer support and more.
Army Veteran Troy Yocum started Active Heroes non-profit because of his grandfather, a World War II Veteran. Yocum could not understand why his grandfather had taken his own life.
After his own deployment to Iraq, Yocum realized many Veterans silently struggle with depression and PTSD, similar to his grandfather.
Yocum hiked 7,800 miles across thirty-seven states to bring awareness to Veteran suicide. He called it the “Hike for Heroes.” In the process, he raised $1.3 million, which allowed him to launch Active Heroes. Yokum’s efforts earned him a Citizen Honors Medal in 2014.
Active Heroes Events
Free of charge to Veterans and military members, Active Heroes sponsors almost 500 annual events across the United States. Activities include, “Carry the Fallen,” where participants hike with a ruck to signify the burdens Veterans carry, Workouts of the Day hosted at gyms across the country, the 22 Pushup Challenge, Active Heroes 5k, Stand at Attention Competition, and Zumbathons.
Peer Mentors and other programs
Volunteers, who are Veterans, military members or part of a military family, are trained to be Active Heroes mentors by the suicide prevention organization, QPR Institute, to support struggling or potentially suicidal Veterans.
The Active Heroes Community Center is located in Louisville, Kentucky, within Louisville Athletic Club. It assists hundreds of Veterans and military family members every month. They also have a retreat center, located in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, open to military families free of charge. Visitors can schedule a day to visit the grounds during hours of staffing, schedule a cabin vacation, or sign up for selected camping dates with cookouts.
The non-profit also offers home repair assistance and educational scholarship opportunities, for which Veterans can apply.
Visit the Active Heroes website for more information.
The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of the products and services on the part of the VA.
Kristen Reece (graphics), Alyssa Morford (editor) and Kaley Miller, student interns with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team, contributed to this report.