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Marine carrying American flag on a mission to promote veteran suicide awareness

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BETTENDORF-- Breath heavy, music blaring. flag flying high, Brian Geerts comes to a stop at Bettendorf's Veterans Memorial.

"Just a lot of family military history, very proud family," says Geerts.

It's the stop where his running route ends, but it's where his military story began.

"I went on when I was 17 into the Marine Corps," says Geerts.

Geerts rose in the ranks and served at a U.S. Marine Corps Corporal back in the 80s. It was in the military he learned values like hard work, strength, and looking out for his team.

"I would trust every single one of them with my life. There's no doubt about it," says Geerts.

But asking for help, that was taught differently.

"I was brought up that it's a sign of weakness. That's how I was raised, and in the military they kind of teach you that," says Geerts.

He's seen first hand the affects.

"I've known four people, unfortunately, that have committed suicide after getting out of the military, and that's a shame," says Geerts.

Every day you'll see Brian running with his partner attracting attention every step of the way. And that's the point. This Marine is on a mission.

Brian is raising awareness about veterans and the injuries you can't always see.

"It's more so the mental than the physical injuries," says Geerts.

Brian runs 22 miles almost every day, he says it's one mile for every veteran who commits suicide each day in the United States.

"I'm thinking about the ones that are still living, the ones that need help. My goal, my cause, I think, is to let people know there's always somebody there," says Geerts.

So when you see him, breath heavy, music blaring, flag held high, there's more than meets the eye.

"The biggest thing is awareness and letting people know that people care," says Geerts.

Just know this Marine is on a mission.

Geerts is running across Iowa in May to raise awareness for his cause. To donate to help spread his message, click here.

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