Connect with us

U.S. News

West Ouachita High Schooler runs challenge to support veterans



MONROE, La.- A West Ouachita High School junior is taking part in a nationwide challenge to help veterans. Joe’Von Benton is running in the Stop Soldier Suicide 100-mile challenge to bring awareness to the thousands of veteran lives lost each year to suicide.

“The body goes through it, my body’s sore, but it’s worth the event. It’s worth it because I know it’s going to a good cause,” Benton says.

The challenge is also used to raise money for the nonprofit to help vets throughout the country through mental health support, housing assistance and another services.

Benton says he had to show his support and help any way he could for the heroes who need it. “I felt like I owed them that much for what they did for our country,” he says.

According to the Stop Soldier Suicide website, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for post-9/11 vets, accounting for 22.3% of all deaths.

Benton says being a JROTC cadet at West Ouachita has helped him see just how much veterans do for our country. So he wanted to show his appreciation for them.

“They did so much and a little time went to war and whatnot to make our country better. So I just felt like it was my responsibility,” Benton says. Through “spending time with my commander-in-chief, getting to know them, he talked about us about their military experience, I just felt like I can do this a little bit to show them how much they’ve impacted my life.”

It’s something he says he wants to do for others moving forward. So, he’s also planning to join the ranks and join the National Guard soon too.

“I have family members that were in the military. I have friends and neighbors that are in the military. Now they come by and tell me what they did or how it is, and it just makes them want to do it more.”