From: Chris Thompson, Director, WVDVA Suicide Prevention and Education
Update: Mountain State 22
Since the announcing by Governor Earl Ray Tomlin in September of the statewide initiative of Mountain State 22, a community program to reduce and eliminate Veteran suicides, there have been three counties/communities sign on board. Those communities are; Martinsburg (Berkeley), Clarksburg (Harrison) and Ripley (Jackson).
Martinsburg was the test case and immediately following the announcement both Clarksburg and Ripley quickly came on board through their own initiative. These communities have brought together Veterans organizations, law enforcement, mental health professionals, concerned citizens, local government and the Veterans Administration in Martinsburg, Clarksburg and Huntington. It has been incredibly rewarding to see the enthusiasm and the hard work these communities have put in to making this undertaking a reality.
The goals of each of these groups, and more to come after the new year, is to become aware of the needs of Veterans in their communities, acknowledge the needs, and then go into action to meet those needs. The underlying truth driving Mountain State 22 is that our nation has disengaged from the distress and anguish our Veterans are going through due to the wars they have fought. These Community Response Committees are forming to re-engage the local population to the commitments these Veterans made for us and we need to make back to them. Most importantly, this program is locally based and not state run.
The movement to enact these committees is slow but purposeful. We want to get it right the first time. Other Community Response Committees will come on line in Lewisburg, Keyser and Moorefield in 2017. Mountain State 22 is in a good place because of the men and women who have given of their time and talent to make West Virginia Veterans a priority.
November 11, 2016
On Friday, November 11, 2016 we were at the Jackson County Court House lawn in Ripley, WV for our Veterans Day Observance. We were able to meet a lot of Veterans as well as some amazing community members! Thank you all for stopping by to talk to us!