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Veterans’ assistance group takes its message of hope to the road
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More than 120 motorcycles, as well as a number of Jeeps, rode in Mission 22’s fifth annual memorial ride on Saturday. Photos by Pat Donahue.

Ken Bohannon credits Mission 22 for saving his life. He’s hoping the turnout for Saturday’s Steven’s fifth annual memorial ride will help many others.

Bohannon, the state ambassador for the veterans’ assistance organization, was overwhelmed at the number of motorcycles that roared out of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6602 parking lot Saturday morning — and the number of vehicles that followed in the Jeep ride.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “Beyond my comprehension.”

The event has grown from 12 bikes to more than 120 in Saturday’s procession from the VFW post. Bikers and Jeep drivers drove to Warriors Walk on Fort Stewart and then to the Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Glennville before returning to the VFW.

Mission 22 provides veterans and their families with support and resources.

“We’re fighting against veterans’ suicides,” Bohannon said. “We also help the families as well. We have programs for veterans suffering from PTSD and also traumatic brain injury, and also military sexual trauma. We help our veterans at no cost to them.”

Mission 22, which operates in every state, links veterans and families with help. Sometimes, it can be as simple as a fishing trip or a gym membership, or finding herbal-based medications instead of pills, Bohannon said.

Veterans and their families also can be treated through the organization’s recover and resiliency program at home with a therapist who checks in on them.

The name Mission 22 is a reference to a 2013 Department of Veterans Affairs study that reported an average of 22 veterans take their own lives each day.

“It takes a community to heal a warrior,” he said. “We get a community involved to come out and support our events like this and we raise money through merchandising, donations, raffles.”

Bohannon, the Georgia ambassador for Mission 22, praised the help of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary in putting the event together.

“Those ladies are awesome,” he said. “We can’t do it without everyone’s help.”

Bohannon’s son Steven, a former Marine, died on December 2, 2017. “I was going to a dark place,” Bohannon said. “I reached out to Mission 22 and they saved my life. They gave me an opportunity to share our story, his story.”

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