American Legion buddying up today as veteran suicide on the rise

Ohio County

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Veteran’s Day in Wheeling looks different for American Legion Post 1 who canceled their service, but wants to let all who served for our country know – They’re not alone. 

Today we thank not only the veterans, but the families, who with tears in their eyes waved goodbye to their dads, who waited months to hug their spouse again, and who stayed by their loved ones’ side. But Post 1, Post 89, and the VFW joined forces today with another mission – to make sure their fellow veterans have a number to call and a hand to hold while in this pandemic. 

The Posts say veterans are family and family sticks together. 

On the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour, our country since 1918, has saluted our men and women who put on the uniform to protect our homes… But home might be isolating for those men and women right now. 

American Legion leaders say veteran suicide numbers are spiking during the pandemic. And in an effort to combat these numbers, American Legion will be starting a buddy system, starting with Wheeling, calling all 300 plus members to check up on them. 

If you’re having suicide tendencies, please call us. We’re losing 22 to 24 veterans a day, especially now with the pandemic. We wish that we could present a full ceremony but American Legion Post 89 is going to do what they call their buddy system, and Post One is also going to do buddy calls.

Mike Doyle, USMC Retired Chief Foreign Officer, American Legions Post 1

Today we thank those who chose to defend our country, our communities, who are willing to give up their lives for the sake of our freedom.  So, if you are a veteran in the Ohio Valley, know you have a buddy. Don’t be a stranger. Reach out. 

988 will be the new suicide hotline where veterans can press one to be directed to the veteran’s crisis line.

This will not be available until 2022.

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