Worthy Brothers and Sir Knights,
Many within our ranks of the Knights of Columbus have taken the oath to defend our nation, our values, and there are many Knights today that still battle with memories that haunt them – I’m one of them.
Suicide is not how it has to end. I was fortunate enough to talk with a Soldier about a year ago, and help him get through the darkness. He was in the act of committing suicide when I called – that brief interruption allowed time for us to talk and get him the help he needed. He now lives a good life in New Mexico. His Battle Buddy was not so fortunate.
Many of you may know someone dealing with a very dark memory from Vietnam, Korea, WW II or the current War on Terror. As Brother Knights we can be very charitable by listening and offering a way to get help.
Please reflect on the following words, pray for our Brother Knights who have served, or are currently serving, as well as their families.
The most recent data for veteran suicides – 22 a day – is heartbreaking. These are men and women who vowed with their lives to protect our great nation. They slept on battlefields, spent weeks at sea, flew over hostile territory and faced enemy fire so that we might sleep without fear at home in America.
Somewhere along the line, sometime after discharge, something happened to them. It may have been caused by post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. It may have been depression brought about by unemployment, under-employment or homelessness.
No matter the reason, mental health of veterans is an issue in need of resolve.
VA has broadened its ability to help veterans in crisis. In fact, family members and friends can contact VA through its suicide prevention hotline, texting service or online chat if there are concerns. Here is how you or someone you care for can reach VA during a crisis:
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. But once the calendar turns to October, the threat remains. Be on the lookout for veterans who need help. Listen to them. Talk with them. Direct them to their local coordinators at www.veteranscrisisline.net. Or, if necessary, contact a counselor on their behalf.
A simple phone call, a willingness to listen or to step up with a referral for a fellow veteran can save lives. Please be on the lookout.
SFC Michael J. Sullivan “Sully”
Military Outreach Chairman
"The Warrior's gift is to willingly storm Hell, so that Heaven remain unstained."