Border-to-border ruck march to raise awareness for PTSD

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MARSHALL COUNTY, Minn. (Valley News Live) The ultimate sacrifice.

That is what a group of Fargo men want people to remember as they march across the state to raise awareness for veterans with PTSD.

Some are calling veteran suicides a growing epidemic and people in our area are no exception.

"Well we're 40... 45.4 miles in," said John Dalziel on a muggy May morning.

Dalziel and three friends will be marching around 240 miles from the Canadian border all the way to the North Dakota, South Dakota border. They'll do it with a military issued ruck sack on their back. Choosing Memorial Day weekend was no accident.

"It's not just about barbecues and hot dogs," Dalziel said.

Before the ruck march started at midnight today, they stopped to pay homage to a brother.

"Brady's group, the 10th Mountain, they came back from Afghanistan in 2014, I believe, with 140 soldiers. None of their soldiers were KIA," Dalziel said.

Brady Oberg was among the 140 who came home.

"Since they've been back, three years, three in a half, almost four years, there's been 14 of those soldiers that have committed suicide," Dalziel said.

Oberg was among the 14 as well.

Now, Dalziel marches with a picture of Brady on his ruck sack. He knows all too well the struggles of coming home.

Delziel, a Marine veteran, was in Beirut during the 1983 barracks bombing. 241 servicemen lost their lives that day. It was the deadliest single day death toll since the battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.

"My wife. She's a saint. She could speak to PTSD long and hard, because she had to live with it on the other end," Dalziel said.

Dalziel is now 55, a father, and on a mission that won't stop at the South Dakota border.

"It's not that dark. I realize it's dark. Been there, done that. But, asking for help is not a sign of weakness," Dalziel said.

He said if one person picks up the phone, or reaches out to get help, than every step in their trek was well worth it.

The four men are tackling the 240 mile trek in ten mile increments. They will be in East Grand Forks around 10 pm tonight and in Moorhead by 5pm on Friday. They won't be finished until noon on Saturday.

There are links to resources to help veterans under related links.