Army veteran biking cross country stops in Vancleave

Matthew Jarrett arrives in Vancleave on his Cross Country trip.
Matthew Jarrett arrives in Vancleave on his Cross Country trip.

VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - Matthew Jarrett is traveling across the country, and he's not flying or driving... he's biking. His most recent stop was in Vancleave where he will get enough rest to continue on to St. Augustine, Florida. He's doing it all to raise awareness about veteran suicides.

According to Matthew, an average of 22 veterans from all war eras commit suicide daily. Matthew is an Army veteran, and got the idea for his transcontinental trip during his service in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The first leg of Matthew's trip brought him from Virginia all the way to Oregon's coast. Once he made it that far, he decided that he would extend his trip from the Canadian border to the Mexican border and even make his way across the south into Florida. His latest stop is in Vancleave at the home of Jeff and Sheila DeLuke. Matthew found them on a website that helps cyclists find places to stay along their routes.

Matthew's trip has dealt many challenges along the way, including having his bike stolen and extreme weather. His journey has been funded by donations through the website where there are updates, pictures, and even places to leave your own words of encouragement for Matthew.

Matthew says, "Veterans need to address the war within us that can occur after serving in combat. We need to seek resources, ask for help, reach out, and do everything possible to not become a statistic. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and the impact of suicide does not end when a life is taken. Families, communities, and individuals alike need to take action to help prevent and reduce veteran suicides. Call, reach out, and make yourself available to a veteran today."

For more information on Matthew and his journey, and to donate to his effort, please visit:

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