Man ends 30,000 mile journey for suicide awareness

    4:07 PM, Feb 27, 2012   |    comments
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    OAKLAND, CA (CNN/KTVU) -- A Florida man ended a 12-year odyssey in Oakland, California over the weekend. His journey was fueled by a family tragedy and a need to reach others.

    Four miles to hike, it's the final trek on a nationwide, 30,000 mile journey of the heart and mind for 65-year-old Steve Fugate of Florida. He says, "This is my 6th and final walk, and I've walked in all the lower 48 states."

    Love life, it seems like a simple message, but it comes with a deeper meaning of a painful memory and a continuing battle. He says, "I lost my son to suicide in 1999. And it nearly destroyed my life. I didn't want this happening to other parents."

    So in 2001, the grieving father set out to send a message and people from all over the country followed. Fugate says, "And there have been many who said they were gonna take their life or were contemplating it. And they decided not to."

    In the Oakland Hills, a woman ran out of her home just to hug him. Julie Moran lost her dad to suicide 20 years ago. She says, "My boys just happened to be looking out our window and said, 'mom, come here you gotta see this' and so we came running out and it's serendipity maybe that he just happened to walk by my house."

    Fugate decided to end his labor of love after meeting an Oakland man on his odyssey. The two connected and kept in touch.

    And in Fugate's final steps he gives his final advice. He says, "I believe I get back what I put out, I just love everybody."

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