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Ride for 22 to raise awareness for veteran suicide set for Saturday

The second-annual Ride for 22 will be Saturday, April 22.

Steve Exceen wants to bring up a subject many are uncomfortable with.

Suicide.

“It is a very tough word to say,” he said. “But we have to learn to talk about suicide.”

After Exceen lost a fellow Marine to suicide in 2015, he decided to do something about it.

Exceen, along with Air Force veterans Doug and Debbie Knehr started Ride for 22, a non-profit organization aiming to raise awareness about veteran suicide.

“We take their picture and we put it on our vest and bike and we honor that veteran by riding for that veteran,” Exceen said.

The organization’s first ride was last year and originally thought that one ride would be it, but the response was greater than they imagined.

So they are back again.

“Last year we had 268 riders,” Debbie Knehr said. “This year we are hoping to have 500.”

The ride begins at High Desert Harley Davidson with kickstands up at 11:30 a.m. The route then goes through Nampa, Melba and Kuna before returning to its starting spot.

While Ride for 22 remembers those we have lost, it also aims to help those affected the most.

“I want people to gather and build their own families and meet other families that are suffering and they can talk and have that person to talk to and call if they need help,” Exceen said.

Exceen said the money raised from this event goes to the Idaho Veterans Garden, Zero Hour Expeditions and two families affected by veteran suicide.

On Friday, festivities kick off with Concert for 22 presented by Ride for 22. It’s a free concert for veterans and active military members. Doors open at the Knitting Factory at 6:30 p.m.

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