MCC to host HonorStride April 19

Editor’s note: This article deals with suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call  988, the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

It’s a sobering statistic.

According to the Veterans Affairs Department, some 20-plus veterans and service members die by suicide each day. 

To raise awareness, Meridian Community College’s Veterans Committee wants to take a stand against the silent battles these service personnel endure by hosting HonorStride: Steps for Veterans Lives. 

This awareness walk is set for Friday, April 19, at 10 a.m. Participants will gather on campus between the Quave Student Life Center and the Damon Fitness Center and follow a green-painted path that encircles the campus. 

 “By participating in HonorStride, you will be contributing to the awareness and prevention of veterans’ suffering and suicide,” said Veronica Fox, MCC assistant director of student accounts and member of the College’s Veterans Committee.   

Before the walk begins, there will be announcements, including a welcome, acknowledgments, and a presentation by the Stronger Together Foundation, which is a veteran-founded non-profit organization established by families and friends affected by suicide. Its core values are mutual support, understanding, and awareness. 

Natacha Fortenberry, a board member of the organization and an MCC Culinary Arts Technology student, will speak and join the walk. Her son, Stanley Compton (Trey) Powell III, who served in the military for nine years and was a sergeant first class serving at the Mississippi Joint Forces Headquarters, took his own life in 2021. 

“My heart will be with those at the walk,” Fortenberry said. She anticipates the walk will raise awareness. “I’m hoping we can make younger people aware of mental illness. People need to talk about it. It’s a problem,” she added. 

For more information about the HonorStride, contact Shaquita Hopson Alfonso at 601.484.8723 or