A lot of Americans live totally oblivious to a national tragedy unfolding at an alarming rate right under their noses. Our nation’s heroes, veterans, are returning from active duty and committing suicide at an alarming rate.
For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 18-22 veterans die by their own hands. That is 349 suicides in 2012, about one a day. That means more soldiers are dying by their own hands than in combat. If that isn’t a wakeup call, then I don’t know what is!
According to the Defense Suicide Event Report for 2011, 79% of the suicides were committed on U.S. soil, 55% happened in their own residence, and 75% communicated the intent to harm themselves. t2health.org PDF
That means most of these suicides are preventable, if people take notice and take action. Not everyone is sitting back on their laurels though; groups like Gallantfew.org are stepping up and helping these ailing heroes. Gallantfew.org is a veteran group set up to mentor returning veterans by helping them find a job or by giving them a shoulder to lean on. Gallantfew volunteers monitor veteran chat rooms and websites looking for veterans in trouble, and they take action.
Actor and Army Ranger Veteran Tim Abell is the chairman of Gallant few. Abell told me, “Men with million dollar training come back, and are offered menial labor jobs. They have no purpose, no mission. A lot of times these Rangers will do 5-6 missions a night. Their life has a meaning and structure in war zones. Then they come back to civilian life and they fight with their wives, or find out that their wives cheated on them.”
“One Solder came home to find a video tape of his wife having sex with another man to spite him for being away for so long. Others have a hard time just dealing with the daily life when their wives ask them why you don’t make more money, why do we have to live here, and the soldiers say – man I can’t wait to go back to war.”
These men are taught to be killing machines, and they are good at it, but how are they supposed to transition back to civilian life without proper help. The public needs to step in by talking to these guys and helping them find a new purpose for their lives. A little patience and understanding will go a long way because you don’t know what they might have been through in the war zones they came from. Abell, “We need to just make friends with them, talk to them, and bring them back into the fold of our communities.”
One-on-One Mentoring With A Veteran
The core focus of GallantFew is one-on-one mentoring by a veteran with a veteran.
The perfect match is one where both veterans:
live in the same hometown were in the same branch of the service had the same Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) had the same units of assignment (this is ideal) were deployed in the same combat theaters have similar injuries
Bottom line – we want our mentors and proteges to have as many things in common as possible because this generates a much quicker and stronger bond. There are many ways for you to get involved with GallantFew. Gallantfew.org
If you are about to leave the military, or have recently ETS’d (that’s end term of service to you civilians out there) with an honorable discharge, then click the Veteran Sign Up Form and provide your information.
If you’ve been out a few years and have successfully transitioned to your civilian career we want you to be a mentor for a new veteran. It doesn’t matter what profession, blue collar or white collar. What matters is that you have gone through the process and you have the transitional bumps and bruises to prove it. Your experience is invaluable to a new veteran.
Even Tea Party Patriots don’t know this is happening, but I know they will want to help, once it is known. GallantFew is a volunteer-driven organization. If you never served in the military, now is your chance to serve those who protected you and your family.
Here are a few ways you can help (bet you can come up with more):
Hold a fundraising event Offer to mentor a veteran in your particular area of expertise Get your employer to start or add GallantFew to a matching donor program (we’re already listed by Microsoft and IBM) Offer your time in your area of expertise (web design, brochure/graphic design, video editing…) Arrange for a GallantFew spokesperson to talk to a large group in your neighborhood Set up a fundraising page.” Gallentfew.org.