NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - There's an effort underway to give police and military, both current and retired, a place to talk and share their struggles. And a place for families to heal.
"This is the place of reflection. This is going to be Heroes Memorial Park," proclaimed John Salerno a retired New York City Police Detective.
The park is planned for the shore of Lake Ray Hubbard.
Third Watch Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club is behind the push. We introduced you to the group in 2019 and their effort to walk the Highway 66 bridge, now known as Heroes Memorial Bridge, every month from Rowlett to Rockwall.
They're raising awareness of war veterans and first responders who commit suicide or attempt to take their life.
Third Watch says what they're doing and helping people talk is making a difference and saving lives.
"At least seven. We know since we first started the #WalkTheBridge movement of seven lives. That's from here, across North Texas, as far away as New York City," said Brian Wilburn.
Salerno believes the park is one way for police and military to talk about their mental health. In his words, to smash the stigma.
"If we save one life through this park, if we bring one family back together because they suffered a loss; this journey, this walk, this bridge will all be worth it," explained Salerno.
The plans for Heroes Memorial Park include a monument and a chance for families who have lost someone to suicide a chance to heal.
"It'll be a journey that they can take when they come in the parking lot, and they make their way down here. Our hope is, I think it's fair to say, that they will have let that stigma go. And then they can actually honor that family member the way they deserve to be honored," said Wilburn.
Third Watch LEMC is raising money to develop the park with plans to open it by late 2023.
They say the response to the #WalkTheBridge movement has reached overseas with law enforcement in England reaching out to them.
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