(WPRI) — A police officer from Massachusetts is walking 219 miles through the state to raise awareness about the dangers first responders face every day.
Officer Doug Kingsley began his ten-day journey on Saturday as he walks from Egremont on the New York state border all the way to the Chatham Lighthouse in Chatham.
During his walk, he will be honoring his co-workers and friends who have been killed in the line of duty, especially those who have taken their own lives.
Kingsley used to serve in the Army National Guard and has been working for the Sherbon Police Department since 2019. Throughout his career, he says “suicide has affected me on too many occasions.”
In 2019, Kingsley said he lost one of his soldiers to suicide and then in 2021, he lost a friend to suicide from his academy class.
“Since these events, I have seen the necessity to raise awareness for Police and Military suicide prevention. It is for this reason that I am walking,” Kinglsey wrote on his website. “I am walking to honor the memories of those who have passed. I am walking to raise awareness for the resources that are available. I am walking to prove that we are not alone in this profession, even though, at times, it might seem like it.”
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, with police officers and military service members at a higher risk than any other profession.
Kingsley is walking in support of Blue H.E.L.P., a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring awareness to first responder suicide and mental health issues.
On Tuesday he will be walking through Franklin, Wrentham, Foxboro, Mansfield and Easton.
“There are people who love you, there are people who care, and even a complete stranger could change your life for the better,” he wrote.