Operation Obstacle

DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) -- Veterans face many obstacles in their mental health - like finding the right place to get help. This weekend, an obstacle course is funding some of those resources.

The first annual timed, two-mile operation obstacle course is gave the Decatur community to compete with one another, while raising awareness for veterans in need.

"Events like these bring awareness to veterans and after they've completed service in our country, we can do things that will help them with some of the challenges that come along later in their lives," Tara Daniels, a participant in the race and the wife of a military veteran said.

The obstacle course was hosted at Richland Community College. The school  just opened a resource center for veteran students back in 2019 -- one of many outlets in central Illinois where veterans can seek help.

"We also want them to use the veteran crisis line, they can call chat or text on that if they are in a crisis and there's a lot of resources in the community that we can help refer out to," Hannah Jordan, a suicide prevention case manager at VA Illinois Health Care System said.

Studies show each day 17 veterans commit suicide and the organizations involved with the race hope to prevent that sad reality from coming true again.

"There are resources that can help our veterans. Traditionally, may not spoken aloud as much - events like these can bring awareness to the resources - the often wonderful resources that are available to our veterans to help them heal and overcome," Daniels said.

"We're hoping that people keep veteran suicide at the forefront of their minds and that they are able to reach out to someone who might be struggling and to provide them with support and get them connected to the VA or other community resources," Jordan said.

To find resources for local veterans, you can call Richland's veteran affairs coordinator - that number is on their website.

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