It is vital we address military suicides for veterans and active duty service members in our country. On average, 22+ veterans and 1 active duty soldier commit suicide each day. Not only is it vital that we shine a light on this epidemic of military suicide, but it is also important that we, as American citizens, do something to help end this tragedy.
We recently ran across a couple of stories we wanted to share. Both of these are inspirational stories of veterans helping veterans and service members with the aim of preventing and ending military suicide.
According to their Facebook page, "Stack On Me is a non profit group dedicated to prevent veterans suicide. Together we will clear this house and stop losing our brothers and sisters."
The Facebook page now has more than 3,000 likes with a veteran available in each state. One of those veterans is Evan Sandefur who served six years infantry in the Marine Corps and fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. When Sandfeur came home he struggled with depression, so he understands what many depressed veterans thinking about suicide are going through.
He told a Roanoke, Virginia news station "A lot of vets deal with nightmares, anxiety, and depression. When waiting on appointments and not getting help, some end up making a permanent decision to end their lives."
He went on to say that with Stack On Me, these veterans can now contact fellow veterans to receive support from someone who knows what they are going through. "Call us day or night, coffee, go grab a beer, grab something to eat, go see a movie, just want to walk and talk, we're there no matter what time of day it is."
Another inspirational story of veterans helping veterans prevent and end military suicide comes out of Michigan. Nate Koehn, who served in the U.S. Army for 12 years, recently launched the 22 Veterans Daily Challenge.
In a local news piece, Koehn said, “I started thinking to myself, what can I do here in Michigan to kind of get the word out. I started the challenge… but just with push ups. If you’re challenged, just like the (ALS) ice bucket challenge, you have 22 hours. One hour for every veteran that falls victim to suicide every day…film yourself doing it, post it online, everyone likes to see.”
According to News Channel 3 in Wyoming, Michigan, "If you complete 22 push ups, Koehn is asking for a $10 donation to the charity 22KILL. The group’s mission is to empower and honor those who’ve served and raise veteran suicide awareness. 22Kill has also created a goal of reaching 22 million push ups."
You can read complete instructions for the push up challenge on the News Channel 3 website.
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