ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Advocates and organizations gathered outside the Capitol Saturday morning to walk in honor of a fallen local hero. The 2.2-mile walk hopes to raise awareness for veteran suicide, while also connecting military advocacy organizations.
Saturday’s walking honored Macoy Hicks, “I hate the cold, but I’m here because I love my son. We want to just 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 active duty Navy when he passed away in February 2019 at 20-years-old. His first station was in Washington, D.C., serving as a ceremonial guardsman.
“Where he buried 6-8 fellow sailors every day. That kinda brought out PTSD in him and he was struggling with that. He felt he was doing something honorable for our fallen,” his father explained.
The walk was organized by WalkForVets.org, a nationwide organization hoping to bring more awareness to the fight against veteran suicide.
“We like to bring organizations together, we like to bring veterans, we like to bring advocates together,” said John Ring, the organization’s founder.
It was part of WalkForVets’ campaign to have 22 walks in 22 states, symbolizing the number of military lives lost each day to suicide, “It’s not easy to do this. We’re here until 12:30, 12 o’clock and we’re on the road and we’re heading to Boston. But it’s great seeing the community coming together and helping veterans,” Ring said.
Ring started the organization after walking over 3,000 miles across the US to raise awareness about the issues facing veterans and service members. Hicks says he’s honored the organization is recognizing his son, “It’s a pretty big undertaking, 22 states in 22 days. Adding our son into the mix, it just felt right.”
Shortly after Macoy’s death, his family began HicksStrong in his memory. The organization helps connect veterans, service members and their families to metal health resources, getting them the help they need. Since its inception, they’ve provided over 800 therapy sessions to more than 100 veterans, “It just means a lot that they’re still here because of the work that we’re doing and because of our son,” said Hicks.