The Fayette County Veteran Service Commission (VSC) is asking the community for photo submissions of veterans. The photos are planned to be used during this year’s annual “Silent Watch Veteran Suicide Awareness” event.
The awareness activity first began elsewhere in efforts to bring awareness to the high number of veterans that commit suicide every day. Last year was the first time the event was held, with many attendees stopping to honor veterans.
According to VSC Financial Benefits Counselor Tasha Jackson, “last year’s event was great, but of course we would like this year to be better. This is a very important and meaningful event — 22 (veteran) lives (taken by suicide) a day is just too many. We will be having different suicide prevention organizations at the event this year as well as other veteran organizations. Our goal is to get the community involved, show awareness of a major issue, and hopefully people can talk to these organizations and learn signs of a suicidal person, and we can get these numbers lowered.”
The submitted military/veteran pictures will be used to show a visual of how many veteran lives are taken a day by suicide. There will be 22 pairs of boots to represent the average daily lives taken — therefore, the goal is to collect at least 22 photos to be paired with a set of boots.
Photos can be submitted by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org or dropped off at the VSC office Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 133 S. Main St., Suite 404.
Last year during the event, a casket with flags draped over it was placed in front of the courthouse. There were two people standing in silence while facing the casket at all times — every 20 minutes the two individuals were relieved by other volunteers. The watch was hosted by the VSC with the help of the local VFW Riders Post 3762.
This year’s watch will take place Sept. 25 starting at 8 a.m. The last stand will be 5 p.m. and the Honor Guard will present at 5:30 p.m. Volunteers for the watch are being accepted. To choose a time to volunteer, call the VSC office at 740-335-1610.
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.