OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — An event to remember a 26-year-old veteran who killed himself after struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder has wrapped up in Old Orchard Beach.
The family of Dustin Paul, who served in at Afghanistan, held a fundraiser and walk on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, to remember him.
At that walk, about a 100 people came together to do 22 push-ups and complete 22 laps around the OOB high school track in his memory.
“After serving in Afghanistan he came home and he was depressed quite a bit and he tried to seek help but the help really wasn't there or it wasn't the proper help,” Paul’s grandmother June Boulette said.
No. 22 was chosen because of a statistic widely referenced by veterans’ organizations and groups, stating 22 veterans kill themselves each day in the United States.
The actual number, according to the Veteran's Administration, is closer to 20, but veterans still make up 18 percent of all U.S. suicides each year.
Paul’s family said the togetherness from this weekend has helped them cope. It's also helped others who lost loved ones to suicide related to PTSD feel like they are not alone, either.
“I think that's what these vets are feeling, because I feel it,” said Sofie Maloney, whose husband committed suicide after facing a struggle similar to Paul’s.
Dustin's family plans to hold this event every year.
All of the money it raised this past weekend is going to a Maine nonprofit called Embrace a Vet that helps local veterans with PTSD.