Local veteran honors other vets, carries 100 pound pack 20 miles
KENNEWICK, Wash. — A local veteran is carrying the weight of his fellow vets on his shoulders.
Marine Corps Veteran Chris Linck, 35, knows what it feels like to come home from war and feel the guilt that many do as they make their way back into civilian life.
He, along with several other veterans carried a message as they marched along Columbia Park in Kennewick on Monday for Memorial Day.
For Linck, carrying a 100 pound pack on his back for 20 miles is nothing compared to the struggle many veterans face when they return home.
“I was discharged from the military after I got shot in the neck, I wasn’t able to continue my service which made it very difficult while (I was) home and people that I know we’re still over there,” he said. “I had a lot of guilt.”
However, even when vets return many don’t fully make it home.
According to Veterans and PTSD, at least 20 percent of vets who served in Iraq and Afghanistan — have PTSD or depression.
However Linck, is willing to lend a hand in that struggle.
“The pack is symbolic of the burden that the guys carry when they come home from war, the struggle that they go through and that feeling of loneliness, when you were separated from your unit and you were back here as a civilian,” said Linck.
The 20 mile march, a journey that many vets and even community members take together.
“This is real, they are going to be in pain, we are going to be in pain for you,” said Linck. “People that are out there struggling, they know what we’re doing, they know what 100 pounds feels like on their back, a lot of people don’t know what it feels like,” he said.
“When he can’t carry this pack any longer, then I step in and I help him shoulder that burden,” said friend Juan Vela, who served with Linck in the U.S. Marine Corps. “You don’t have to do it by yourself, you’ve got people they are,” he said.
“I’m still here protecting my brothers, you know, trying to save them,” said Linck. “We are just reaching out to everyone who’s out there struggling.”