Deceased local hero honored at Veterans Suicide Awareness Walk
ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) – Advocates and organizations gathered outside the Capitol on Saturday morning to march in honor of a fallen local hero. The 2.2-mile march hopes to raise awareness of veteran suicide, while connecting military advocacy organizations.
Saturday’s march paid tribute to Macoy Hicks: “I hate the cold, but I’m here because I love my son. We just want to honor his memory and let everyone know that we’re here to save military lives, and that’s our mission,” said Michael Hicks, Macoy’s father.
Hicks was on active duty in the Navy when he died in February 2019 at the age of 20. His first station was in Washington, DC, serving as a ceremonial guard.
“Where he buried 6-8 other sailors every day. It brought out the PTSD in him a bit and he was struggling with it. He felt he was doing something honorable for our dead,” his father explained.
The walk was organized by WalkForVets.org, a national organization in hopes of raising awareness about combating veteran suicide.
“We love bringing organizations together, we love bringing veterans together, we love bringing advocates together,” said John Ring, the organization’s founder.
It was part of WalkForVets’ campaign to have 22 marches in 22 states, symbolizing the number of military lives lost every day to suicide, “It’s not easy to do this. We’re here until 12:30, 12 and we’re on the road and heading to Boston. But it’s great to see the community come together and help veterans,” Ring said.
Ring started the organization after traveling more than 3,000 miles across the United States to raise awareness of issues facing veterans and the military.
Hicks says he’s honored that the organization recognizes his son: “It’s a pretty big undertaking, 22 states in 22 days. Adding our son into the mix was just fine.
Shortly after Macoy’s death, his family started HicksStrong in his memory. The organization helps connect veterans, service members and their families to metal health resources, providing them with the help they need. Since its inception, they have provided over 800 therapy sessions to over 100 veterans. “It just means a lot that they’re still here because of the work we do and because of our son,” Hicks said.