Veterans Taking Action on Military/Veteran Suicide After Losing Son by Forming 4WARD Project

It's past time to end 22 a day, the military/veteran suicide problem. Two Army veterans who lost their son, Eric, to suicide in 2016 are taking action to get people talking about it, all while honoring their son's memory. They're doing it with rocks. Yes, rocks.

Veterans Taking Action on Military/Veteran Suicide After Losing Son by Forming 4WARD Project
Castalia, OH, October 25, 2022 --( Two married Army veterans started an organization called 4WARD Project in honor of their son, Eric Ward, after he took his own life in 2016 while in the military.

Eric followed his parents, Kendra and Brian, into the military by joining the National Guard in Ohio. On August 22, 2016, Eric took his own life.

To deal with their grief, the Wards decided to continue Eric's community service and honor his memory. Now their mission also includes shining a spotlight on the military/veteran suicide issue and assisting quality organizations that work on solving it.

On a daily basis, they are trying to start conversations about military/veteran suicide in the hope of making change and helping others. The most successful way they’ve found to do that is through their rock program.

They engrave rocks with Eric's name and a folded flag using a laser. People "hide" the rocks in plain sight for others to find and make social media videos about where they placed it and why. The next person finds it, moves it, and makes a social media video. The process keeps repeating for each rock.

It helps people learn about Eric but also starts conversations about 22 a day. 22 a day refers to a study in 2012 by the Department of Veterans Affairs that found an average of 22 veterans/military service members take their own lives each day.

At first, the Wards were the only ones hiding the rocks. Then, friends and family started doing it. Then many, many more people wanted to do it too. Now, over 1000 rocks have been placed all over the world. They're in every U.S. state and multiple countries.

Active military, veterans, families of military/veterans and so many others who just want to participate have hidden rocks for Eric. This year, Robert Patrick of Terminator 2 (and many other great movies), Bret Michaels of Poison, and racing legend Travis Pastrana have hidden rocks for Eric as well.

The incredibly supportive community that has formed around it and embraced them is something really amazing, and made a difference for them in their grief process. It’s still quite a shock to them that over 250,000 people have followed their TikTok account to support their efforts.

Eric’s story, more information about the rocks, and details about where 4WARD Project has donated proceeds is all at
4WARD Project
Kendra & Brian Ward