Ukiah is lucky to have many service clubs full of people who dedicate their time and talent to helping others. Years ago, I joined Rotary, whose motto is “Service Above Self.” I think the aspect we Rotarians like most about our membership is how good it feels to serve others. Rotarians and all service club members put others before ourselves for many projects and events, but there is another very special group of people who place service to others ahead of everything every day. I’m referring to the men and women in our armed forces.
More than a million people currently serve in the U.S. military—some of our community’s very best—and millions more have served our country in the past with distinction and honor. These brave men and women have put their lives on the line, so that we may freely enjoy ours; I can’t think of a higher calling – a more selfless act.
While awards and memorials mean a great deal to our veterans, it’s really a simple thank you that means the most. It is our personal gratitude for their service that makes the difference in a veteran’s life. Today, on Veterans Day, it’s more important than ever to go out of our way to thank those who have secured our freedom.
I believe our community understands and appreciates our veterans’ service. It makes me proud to see flags lining State Street in honor of our veterans today, and to see our community working hard to support our veterans.
If you’re looking for a way to support veterans, consider attending the Ukiah Rotary and South Ukiah Rotary Clubs’ annual Guitars for the Troops Concert this Saturday, November 14 at the Ukiah Fairgrounds where several great bands will play. During the last four years, our local Rotary clubs have raised more than $50,000 through this event to support veterans in our area. Tickets can be bought for $10 at Dig Music, The Office, or at the event.
In addition to thanking our veterans, we must also do all we can to care for them, for they have experienced more than we will ever understand. When many veterans arrive back home, they suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a dangerous disease that, if left untreated, can lead to depression, or even suicide.
For those who are suffering, there’s help available through a crisis line sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This confidential, toll-free service connects veterans and their families and friends with responders via phone, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive critical support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The Veterans Crisis Line can be accessed on the web at http://veteranscrisisline.net.
If you are a veteran who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, you can contact the National Veterans Administration (VA) Call Center anytime—day or night—at 1-877-424-3838.
Here in Ukiah, the VA Clinic at 630 Kings Court is an excellent resource for our veterans. The Ukiah VA Outpatient Clinic offers quality outpatient health care services for veterans, and the staff encourages veterans returning home from military service to visit the center and enroll—even if they don’t currently need services. Their number is 707-468-7700.
This Veteran’s Day, I encourage you to find a way to thank the heroes who have given us the precious gift of freedom. Our veterans deserve your thanks, a handshake, and a few minutes of your gratitude for their service. Nothing means more than heartfelt appreciation.
To all our armed service heroes–Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines–thank you. You have given us a gift we can never repay.
Happy Birthday, Marines – Semper Fi.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.
By: Chris Dewey – Chief of Police