Invisible Wounds Walk 'Great' Success

Sunshine Herrera, in the foreground, is flanked on the left by her husband, Angel Herrera, and Jeff Cole on the right.

CATHEDRAL CITY — Fresh off the inaugural 2024 Veterans 22K Walk on Saturday, Sunshine Herrera, Cathedral City Evening Rotary president, said she believes it went “great” and already has ideas for next year and wants to make the “invisible wounds” walk it an annual event.

The Veterans 22K Walk, held at Dennis Keat Soccer Park, was aimed at highlighting the rate of suicide among Veterans. The Cathedral City Evening Rotary hosted the walk.

An invisible wound is a cognitive, emotional, or behavioral condition that can be associated with trauma or serious adverse life events. Examples of possible diagnoses are major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

“We started strong with about 50 walkers, and we only had five total complete the full 22k,” Herrera told Uken Report. “We had around 100 people who came out throughout the event. We got 66 flags sponsored.”

The event attracted three teams:  Veterans Team (led by Angel Herrera); VFW Team (led by Jeff Cole); and The Cathedral City Evening Rotary Team (led by Sunshine Herrera.) Each team got 22 flags sponsored.

Organizers made $6,600 on flag sponsorships that will be split between Mission 22 and the local VFW. The money will go towards veteran PTSD and Suicide prevention resources, she said.  Walker donations are still being tallied.

Invisible Wounds Walk 'Great' Success

Angel Herrera brings in the final Veteran team flag.

“Cathedral City Evening Rotary will be making this a yearly event, and the donations will go towards two different veteran organizations every year,” Herrera said. “Next year, we would like to see a Cathedral City Fire Department team along with a Cathedral City Police Department Team. The Cathedral City Evening Rotary is fully aware we have a big veteran population — not just in Cathedral City — but throughout the whole Coachella valley. I am not a veteran myself, but my husband is, and we are childhood sweethearts. I know I am beyond blessed that the same man came home from the military (that went in.) A lot of veterans come home with physical wounds and many, many more with the Invisible Wounds no one is talking about. We have a lot of men and women that come home that deal with the “Invisible Wounds” that are left behind, and they change them forever. More people need to be made aware, and Veterans need to feel comfortable getting the mental help they need by knowing they are not alone.”

As a veteran’s wife, Herrera said she is called to be a “help mate” to her husband Angel Herrera. Together, she said, they will continue to help the veteran community as part of the Cathedral City Evening Rotary.

Without the volunteers and sponsors, she said the event wouldn’t have been possible.

Invisible Wounds Walk 'Great' Success

Jeff Gonzalez and team

One of those who finished the walk was Jeff Gonzalez, a Marine Combat Veteran and the Republican candidate for State Assembly District 36.

“This morning, I gathered a group of volunteers and together we walked 22 kilometers in remembrance of the 22 veterans who succumb to suicide daily,” Gonzalez told Uken Report on Saturday. “This epidemic has to stop. As I walked, I carried with me the U.S. Marine flag, symbolizing my own service as well as the service of others. I am honored to have fought for my country and now want to fight for awareness for the struggles veterans face once they return home.”

Thank you to the Cathedral City Evening Rotary for hosting this event, Gonzalez said. “Your support for our nation’s warriors is paramount to our mission of stopping veteran suicides.”

Image Sources

  • Sunshsine Herrera: Sunshine Herrera
  • Posting a U.S. Flag: Sunshine Herrera
  • U.S. Flags: Sunshine Herrera