‘Shining a light’ on Veteran Suicide Awareness

Veterans Voices

DICKSON CITY, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)– Roughly two and a half years ago, a group of local veterans made a promise to advocate for all veterans returning home and who were still facing their personal war zones.

Veteran’s Promise is a nonprofit veterans’ advocacy organization, based out of Dickson City, that offers suicide prevention, group therapy, as well as drug and alcohol support groups.

Tuesday night’s candlelight vigil was a bit different.

“Tonight’s event is to bring the families of those that are on our ‘Wall of Heroes’ together so that they know they’re not alone in their struggles,” said Veteran’s Promise vice president Ray Stender.

That wall bears the picture of local veterans who have fallen on the home battlefield to drugs, alcohol and suicide.

The ceremony honors the memories of the fallen and refuses to let them fade into history as their names are called out one by one. After the reading, family members are invited and encouraged to share some words about their lost loved ones.

“The important thing about them opening up is it gives them a little bit more closure on their loss,” said Veteran’s Promise chaplain Reverend Jim Noone. “To know that we’re here to support them and we’re only a phone call away.”

When the wall of heroes grows in Dickson City, there is pain, but the support group grows with it and they meet more than once a month to remember.

“What we do here, on a day like today, tears are good,” said Veteran’s Promise president David Ragan.

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