Friday, November 11, 2016, was Veterans Day.
In honor of those who served our country, Jim’s Carry Out in Pioneer hosted an event called, “Gas for Vets”. Volunteers from the Pioneer Legion offered their services to community members who stopped in to get petrol. The volunteers not only offered to pump gas and clean windows in turn for monetary donations, they also made and sold apple fritter bread to raise money for an organization called “Stop Soldier Suicide”.
Stop Soldier Suicide was founded in 2010 when the military experienced a severe suicide crisis. Brian Kinsella, one of the creators of this program was significantly impacted only a few months into his first assignment when a fellow soldier attempted to take her own life. Though she was unsuccessful, another soldier took his life a few days before deployment. Kinsella took it upon himself to help those who were struggling upon returning from war. Along with Nick Black and Craig Grielli, two veterans that shared Brian’s desire, Kinsella was able to start Stop Soldier Suicide.
Stop Soldier Suicide is the first non-profit organization to assist not only veterans, but also active duty soldiers cope with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. When soldiers go through training, they are given a specific regiment to become a warrior. On that same token, they should go through a process in which they transition from a warrior back to an everyday civilian. That is Stop Soldier Suicide’s goal. The foundation takes in soldiers, allows them time and training to get back to their normal life, then the veteran goes home. Since former soldiers designed this program, they knew there was a better way than taking one’s life. Thus they made a process that accommodates the individual.
The Department of Veteran Affairs published a survey that showed 20 veterans, on average, take their lives every day, which only proves the importance of this program. That was the idea that the Pioneer Legion wanted to spread. The volunteers handed out flyers which gave information about soldier suicide and just how important it is to support this foundation. For more information, you can visit stopsoldiersuicide.org
Allyson Hutchison may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org