Local Organization Works to Curb Veteran Suicide
BY ADAM TINKLEPAUGH
Many of us have known an Armed Forces veteran who struggled to find their way after returning home. Though suicide can be real for anyone in our society, certain groups, like veterans, experience substantially higher rates of suicide than the general U.S. population. Citing a Department of Veteran’s Affairs: 2021 National Veteran Suicide Annual Prevention Report, the CDC stated that, out of the 130 suicides per day in 2019, 17 of those lives lost were veterans.
Operation Zero Utah started in 2015 with a single mission: zero veteran suicides. “We wanted to create a community of people for veterans to lean on,” said Austin Price, Operation Zero’s Head of Board of Directors.
Operation Zero Utah hosts suicide awareness events, all of which began with a raffle and their own money. What makes Operation Zero Utah uniquely helpful to veterans is its blend of board members that include one active duty member and three retired veterans who work alongside three other civilian volunteers.
All spend their time and energy to raise awareness about veteran suicide in our community. Everyone who works there is a volunteer with a full-time job. “Even those who aren’t military can really make a difference,” said Austin Price. Their most recent event was a car and bike show held at the Talisman Brewing Company, a veteran-owned business in Ogden. In the near future, Operation Zero Utah hopes to expand their ability to help veterans and their families by offering grants and scholarships.
Having seen the demons that have overcome many of our veterans, Price said, “We provide them with ways to curb suicide numbers as much as we can.”
To inquire about volunteering with OPERATION ZERO UTAH or to make donations, send an email to: OpZero.Utah@Yahoo.com or visit their website at OpZeroUtah.org
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