Marshall Wayne Lee, along with his basset hound Antigone (pronounced Antygonee) Pupple-upagus in a kiddie trailer, is bicycling across the country from Chicago to the Pacific Ocean. They started their journey on October 1, 2009 and arrived in San Saba on Wednesday, December 2nd, logging 1200 miles. The two wish to bring awareness for suicide prevention and basset rescue.
The Out of the Darkness Overnight walk-a-thon supporting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is scheduled in Boston on June 26-27, 2010. According to the 2006 statistics, every two hours eleven people have died by suicide, and one person per minute considers suicide. The state of Wyoming has the most suicides. Marshall knows the feeling of hopelessness because he had sent 250 resumes and no calls or interviews. He had no job, his computer broke and his bicycle stolen which seemed to be too much for a veteran who also suffered post traumatic disorder. From August to November he struggled making his plan on how to end his life, and each time Antigone would sense something was wrong and would not leave him alone. This made him wonder what would happen to this lovable friend and pet if he was not around. So he thought about that instead of carrying out his plan and decided he couldn’t leave his best friend. The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention helps people deal with situations. Their number is 1-800-327-8255.
Marshall adopted Antigone from Basset Rescue and volunteered for the organization before making his journey. The closest Basset Rescue in this area is Helping Hands Basset Rescue in Round Rock, Texas; and their website is www.hhbassetrescue.org.
The dogs are owner surrendered or by dog pounds. Volunteers pick the dogs up and also transport them to the new owners. Prospective owners fill out an application and are carefully matched because some of the dogs need special treatment and medical needs. The Rescue supplies or reimburses all medical needs. Antigone can give you more information at: www.antigonebasset.blogspot.com.
Marshall has met some interesting, friendly and very helpful people. Since he does not travel any interstate roads, and needs to be off the roads by dark, he has had some challenges with hills and weather conditions. An Illinois mechanic read about his journey in the paper and gave him money for dog food. In Oklahoma, a couple from Texas took them to a motel and spared some very steep and dangerous mountain travel. Zak of ZR Plumbing Inc., a Contractor from China Spring, Texas signed up to be their sponsor. He not only is helping financially, but drove them a distance that saved two days of pedalling. Carol Mackinnon gave them a ride into San Saba from the Bend area. When being interviewed at the San Saba News & Star Office, Marshall met Gerry Gamel, the Editor of the Mason County News who offered the travelers another ride to Brady.
Marshall served in the first Gulf War, in Saudi Arabia for six months, joining the Army at the age of 18. Through the military went to college and earned an AM in English. He loves to write, is keeping a diary and yes, someday this journey will be printed and published. Marshall has time to enjoy the scenery and do a lot of thinking. He thinks about how we should support the troops that are fighting; people who are struggling with severe depression and thoughts of suicide; the people who need a good friend like Antigone; Bassets who need a good friend, and wondering when he will be able to go to Confession because his schedule and Catholic church schedules aren’t the same. However, he talks to God every day and knows he has family and friends who are praying for his safety, for suicide prevention, and those wonderful basset friends.