Vets Killing Themselves

I’m not going to go over the stats, the news stories, the army’s stance, etc.   Those are already covered enough in the media and blogging world.  My best friend who survived Fallujah, Najaf, and other major campaigns, a silver star recipient, has known three people who’ve committed the act.  By way of gun and car crash.  As of this post, no one I know has killed themselves, unfortunately I don’t think that will hold.

I personally suffer from major depression, permanently brought on by wartime experience.  (50% disability for that alone)  I’ve struggled with it since I was 18, (which I found amazing the VA awarded me the disability, I was honest with them) caused by repeated blows to my head during a terrible fist fight.  I haven’t been the same.  Suicide’s always a way out I guess, but it’s the end all.  Final.  I’m fairly certain that it won’t ever be a serious thought in my head.

This ‘epidemic’ has just begun.  As the war(s) close down and soldiers filter back into the U.S. and society in general, there will be more self bloodshed.  56,000 vets died in Vietnam, during the conflict.  I’ve heard more than double that killed themselves in the ensuing years.  Those statistics will probably carry over into our conflict.

The VA, Army, and other groups have programs in place, but there’s more to be done.  Our foundation will help to alleviate some of the issues, including mine.  The most important roadblock is the stigma attached to admitting you’ve got a problem.  This is so strong it will prevent even the most self sufficient vet into backpedaling away from help.  I was basically told I was “weak” by a close army friend the other weekend, because I had issues, or at least admitted them.  It stung, but it wasn’t enough.  It’s too late, I’m seeking help.  Somehow that issue needs to be overcome and rectified, once that happens, healing can begin.

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Middletown Public Access

Jay White, Aaron Jones, Jesse and I filmed a show on Middletown Public access.  The show’s hosted by a veteran and deals primarily with veterans issues/needs and news.  The purpose of our visit was to discuss readjustment problems with veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The group discussion went well.  My only problems with it is the time limit.  It’s hard for rookies like myself to pare down our talks.  It was interesting to talk an older generation of veterans.   I had to watch my cursing though, and that’s tough sometimes.

Aaron as usual, impressed the producers and helped get our group offered a spot in one of their open time slots.  We hope to start the show sometime in the next month or tow.  In all probability, it will be formatted around art and veteran issues.

Watch the program on Tuesdays this month at 7 pm.

IRS, wasn’t as big a problem as originally thought.

Quick post:

Turns out I’d filed the correct papers with the State of Connecticut, but didn’t include the certified copy with my 501 (c) 3 package.   So it’s still good.  I need to ask for more time to get the copy out to the IRS.

Update:

We’ve now raised with a bit of effort around 600 dollars.  That’s not including some equipment.  It will not go too far, but it’s a wonderful start.  I will be posting more updates on this as time goes by.

IRS…

Today in the mail, I recieved a letter from the IRS.  Normally, the government takes up to a year to decide whether to grant nonprofit status to companies.  Apparently, they’re working over time.  Today, they informed me that I need to update some of the information I sent them in the packet.

The problem is, they only gave me about 12 days to complete it.  To put it all together, it took me months.  I fear losing out on the 750 dollars and having to start anew.  It’s not a happy thought.  This and our first fundraising event coming up.  I need to touch this up.  Otherwise it will all be for naught.

All else is going well.  From the invites for the fundraiser, I’ve learned a few things.

One: Don’t send out RSVP cards without return addresses or names on them.  I have no idea who’s sent me anything back.  I’d assumed that people would write on them.  That was my fault and ignorance.

Two: Don’t send them out with mixed messages.  It appears to have given a choice between the ticket price and donations.  Again, rookie mistake.

Three: Buy in Bulk.  I bought 50 then another 50 from Staples.  It worked, but I didn’t do them together and delayed some of the invites.

That’s it for now.  I need to figure this all out.

Mike Hawley