Up & Coming Weekly

July 11, 2023

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 13 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM JULY 12 - 18, 2023 UCW 13 Many people commit suicide under the impression that they no longer want to be a burden on those around them. What they do not realize is those who love them are left in a devastating condition grasping for reason and purpose to the loss. e rate of suicide for veterans was 57.3% higher than that of non- veteran adults in 2020, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. e Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that law enforcement officers and firefight- ers are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty. Furthermore, EMS providers are 1.39 times more likely to die by suicide than the public. Enrique "Rick" Murillo under- stands this more than he would want to. He started the Man 22 Suicide Awareness Run eight years ago in honor of someone he knew personally who took their own life. "For the history of the run, which started eight years ago, May 1st, 2016, and it was because of a friend, one of my best friends, who committed suicide," Murillo told Up & Coming Weekly. "I wanted to do something for him, and everybody was doing 22 push-ups a day. [at's] based off of the 22 veterans that were com- mitting suicide a day. So I said I wanted to do something more challenging. So I said, 'Hey, let's run 2.22 miles ... and do the 22 push-ups at the end. And we do this run with body armor and wear the name tapes of those that are following a suicide at the time, eight years ago.'" For that first run, 55 people showed up on a rainy Sunday morning. Now, Murillo says they have averaged 800 to 1,000 people for the last four years. e run is also not just about the run. Murillo's organization also places an emphasis on respecting and honoring Gold Star families. ere will be an event Friday, July 21, for the families. ere will be a private dinner with sponsors from 5 to 6 p.m. en after 6 p.m., the meet and greet will be open to the public. ere will be raffles, auctions, food, drinks and enter- tainment. is will take place at e Kraken-Skulls at 822 Shannon Drive. Ideally, this is when the community comes out and meets the sponsors, volunteers and learns more about the organization. "ey don't get to experience what community is when they go back home, or, once again, it's a stigma of suicide, and people don't recognize that as an honorable death. So [it is important] to have them here, have them see what we do and how we try to combat it," Murillo said. e 8th Annual MAN22 Suicide Awareness Run will take place on Saturday, July 22. is year, the run will take place in downtown Fayetteville, starting at Festival Park. e event will kick off with the Gold Star Escort at 9 a.m. e escort will start at Hendrick Jeep, at 543 N. McPherson Church Road, and end at Festival Park. e event will officially kick off at 11 a.m. with a demonstration from the All Veteran Group. Following the demonstration, there will be an invocation and ceremony featuring guest speakers from the community. Fayetteville City Councilmember Kathy Jensen is the guest speaker for the city; Fayetteville Police Chief Kemberle Braden will be the guest speaker for first respond- ers; and retired Master Sgt. Chris Corbin will be the guest speaker for veterans. As with each Man22SAR event, there will be 22 push-ups and a 2.22-mile run. e run will start at Festival Park, go into Segra Sta- dium, onto Hay Street, and back again. Following the event, Festival Park will have food trucks and 10 vendors. Nonprofit organizations will be available to talk and pro- vide resources for those who need them. Unlike most other runs, registra- tion is not required. You can just show up to the run and participate free of charge. e event is not about money, according to Murillo. e event is about showing up, being a com- munity and providing resources to those who need it. "In our sixth year, I had five people reach out and say thank you because they went to therapy, they went to inpatient therapy, and then they're more active in the commu- nity. If I'm able to reach one person at this run, then I feel like I've ac- complished something. If I could save one life," Murillo said. "at year, five people reached out and said 'thank you.' And so here we were, 500% accomplished." Murillo shared with Up & Com- ing Weekly that he lost a good friend last month to suicide. He believes more can be done because we are still losing people. is year, Murillo is going to be running with 10 nametags attached to him; all are people he knew personally. "I believe we're not doing enough, and there's more that could be done. But together, we need to come together as a com- munity and be stronger for each other and care for each other," Murillo said. While the event is primarily organized for veterans and first responders, Murillo wants the en- tire community to come out, show support, and participate because suicide has a major rippling effect on everyone. "We are open up to everybody because suicide is affecting every- body, especially our young kids at a very young age. So I want as many people to come out and just see what we do, see what we do as a community. I always tell people if you want to understand what community means, come to Fayetteville, North Carolina, and you will see." For more information about the run, go to https://www.facebook. com/events/544556577655990. For more information about rough Tragedy Comes Light, the nonprofit whose CEO is Murillo, visit https://throughtragedycomes- light.org/ COVER HANNAH LEE, Assistant Editor. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200. Community called together for suicide awareness by HANNAH LEE Enrique Murillo runs the nonprofit rough Tragedy Comes Light. With events like the Annual MAN22 Suicide Awareness Run scheduled for July 22, Murillo endeavors to bring awareness to sui- cide prevention efforts and community outreach programs. (All photos courtesy Enrique Murillo).

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