So far in 2013, some 3,344 veterans have committed suicide in the United States. In addition, over 181 active duty military members have also committed suicide, bringing the total to 3,525 individuals who have faithfully served our country, terminated their lives early. This is an increase from one every 80 minutes to one every 65 minutes.
Recently, Congressman Beto O’Rouke a freshman congressman who represents El Paso, Texas was quoted as saying, “the average waiting time for a veteran to receive mental health assistance from the Veterans Administration is 449 days.”
The question is, what can we as citizens do to help this situation? Well, Tom L’Italien, of Phoenix, Ariz. didn’t wait to have someone answer this question for him. Cycling from Flagstaff, Arizona to Lynn, Mass., Tommy left June 21 riding a bicycle 2,700+/- miles across the country to draw attention to the veteran suicide rate. He stopped in Troy Thursday.
Tom is bicycling across the country to bring awareness of our responsibility in this great nation to take better care of our veterans. “We need to recognize our veterans as heroes who have paid a big price for our freedom and support them when they come home,” he said. “The families and loved ones of those lost to suicide continue to suffer.”
Follow him at www.teamveteran.org and find out how you can help him help veterans. Also look at next week’s issue for more indepth article on this American’s ‘can do’ attitude.
By Bob Simmons