The Trail to Zero ride to end suicide, a 20-mile horse ride aimed at helping end suicide among Veterans, is returning to Fort Wayne and Allen County on September 16.
Started in 2017 by BraveHearts, the largest equine-assisted services program for Veterans in the United States, Trail to Zero ride brings the overwhelming statistic of 20 Veterans who die by suicide per day to the forefront of Americans’ minds, while also educating the public about equine-assisted services and the benefits horses can provide as an alternative approach to addressing mental health concerns and to aid in healing for Veterans.
Local Veterans from Summit Equestrian Center, the Fort Wayne-based certified therapeutic riding organization, will join Veterans from BraveHearts as they traverse a 20-mile loop course from western Allen County through downtown Fort Wayne and back. The Allen County Commissioners are also lending logistical support for the Trail to Zero ride.
“We are incredibly thrilled to welcome BraveHearts back to Allen County and help support their mission through Trail to Zero,” said Commissioner Rich Beck. “It is the hope of everyone participating in the event that we reach Veterans who are currently battling issues with mental health to let them know that they are not alone, their community cares, and equine-assisted services are here to help. Given the incredible response to the first Trail to Zero ride held in Allen County, we couldn’t wait to welcome them back and continue raising awareness of the issues our veterans and active service members continue to face.”
Based in Illinois, BraveHearts previously brought Trail to Zero to Fort Wayne in 2021. The organization has also conducted Trail to Zero in cities such as Chicago, New York, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. In early June, BraveHearts led Trail to Zero across the beaches of Normandy, France, ahead of the 79th anniversary of D-Day.
Trail to Zero will gather at approximately 7AM and depart from the Veterans Memorial Shrine and Museum on O’Day Road at 8AM. Members of the public who want to support and encourage Trail to Zero can do so by supporting in person at any of its scheduled stops. Veterans and civilians are welcome to meet the Veterans and horses on this ride.
Schedule – all times are approximate and subject to change:
● 7 a.m.: Veterans Memorial Shrine and Museum
● 10 a.m.: Fraternal Order of Police, Olladale Road
● 12:15 p.m.: Memorial Park in between Jefferson and Washington Boulevards
● 2:45 p.m.: Allen County Courthouse, downtown Fort Wayne
● 3:30 p.m.: University of Saint Francis east campus parking lot, Spring Street and Leesburg Road
● 5:15 p.m.: Veterans Memorial Shrine and Museum
Those unable to attend any of the scheduled stops are encouraged to support BraveHearts or Summit Equestrian Center.
For more information on BraveHearts and the Trail to Zero ride, visit its website, braveheartsriding.org.