WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump on Monday welcomed a Marine veteran to the White House as he completed his 300-mile walk—which led him through Culpeper last week—to the nation’s capital to raise awareness about the problem of veteran suicide.
Terry Sharpe, 69, was met at the Washington Monument by Karen Pence, the wife of Vice President Mike Pence, for the final leg of his journey from Summerfield, North Carolina, to the White House grounds, where he was greeted by Trump, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie and the U.S. Marine Band.
According to a post by Mrs. Pence, meeting the president was a surprise for Sharpe.
Sharpe, a Vietnam veteran, makes the annual walk to Washington to spotlight the high rate of suicide among the nation’s military veterans. Walking 10 to 14 miles per day, he follows the U.S. 29 corridor and passed through Culpeper this year on July 20-21.
“Terry’s commitment to address veteran suicide is inspiring and more than ever before we must all do that we can do to prevent veteran suicide,” Mrs. Pence posted.
The pandemic delayed Sharpe’s walk this year that took place during a heat wave.
In 2017, the suicide rate for veterans was 1.5 times the rate for non-veteran adults, after adjusting for population, according to the 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report.
Sharpe, along with fellow veteran Allen Brown, completed their first 300-mile walk to the White House in 2014. The 2020 walk was Sharpe’s last as he passes the torch to fellow Marine Wayne Jenkins.