Via WTHI TV and WISH TV
Greene County man looking to establish retreat for veterans with PTSD
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Paying it forward, one step at a time. A local man is looking to help his fellow veterans who are living with PTSD.
“We should be doing more and this is our way of paying it forward,” said Brian Romans, a retired Marine and founder of Romans Warrior Foundation.
Romans and others completed a 96-mile walk from Greene County to downtown Indianapolis on Monday.
The Department of Veterans Affairs said 22 veterans commit suicide everyday.
Romans though said the actual number is likely much higher.
To help save his military brothers and sisters, he said he wants to build a retreat right here in Indiana.
“My brothers and sisters do not feel that we are getting the adequate care needed, or the people that we need to talk to. Once we acquire the property down in Greene County we are going to build living memorial cabins for our fallen heroes,” said Romans.
They want to build two cabins. One will be in honor of Corporal Ronald Payne Jr., he was the first US casualty in Afghanistan. The other will be built in honor of Corporal Benjamin Rosales. He was killed in Iraq in 2006.
“I’m here so another mother doesn’t get another one of these flags,” said Maria Salgado, Rosales’ mother, who also walked with the group.
The flag that draped Rosales’ casket lead Monday’s walk through downtown Indianapolis.
“He left his brothers behind and I’m here to take care of those brothers who are behind,” said Salgado.
Rosales and Romans served together in Iraq.
“I’ve been able to reconnect with several of my marines who will call me at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning just to say, ‘Hey I’m in a dark place can you help me out?” said Romans.
It took the group six days to make it from Green County to Indianapolis. Despite temperatures in the 90’s, they said the number of walkers grew everyday.
“We absolutely would’ve crawled here, by all means we would’ve carried each other if we had to. Nothing was going to stop us,” said Heath Murray, a former first responder who walked with the group.
Their walk ended at the War Memorial. They need $600,000 to acquire the 119 acres to build the cabins.
“Don’t forget, don’t forget about them, they need us. they need us,” said Salgado.
First responders will also be able to use the retreat.
Romans said they will continue to do these walks until they’ve raised enough money.
For more information about Romans Warrior Foundation, click here.
Written by Kendall Burch
Stimulus Engineering and WestGate Academy Conferencing and Training Center Intern