Thanks (and Guitars) for our Troops
More than a million people currently serve in the U.S. military, and millions more have served our country in the past with distinction and honor. These brave men and women represent some of our very best, putting their lives on the line to protect the American way of life. I can’t think of a higher calling or a more selfless act.
While awards and memorials mean a great deal to our veterans, it’s often a simple thank you that means the most. It is our personal gratitude for their service that makes the difference. This Veterans Day, please consider going out of your 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, and to see our community working hard to support our veterans.
One of the ways our community comes together to help veterans is through the annual Guitars for the Troops concert, sponsored by Ukiah Rotary and South Ukiah Rotary. This year’s event will be held Friday, November 11 at the Ukiah Fairgrounds and your ticket not only gives you access to an entertaining concert featuring several great bands, it also helps raise money to support local veterans. In fact, during the last five years our local Rotary clubs have raised more than $60,000 this way. You can buy tickets for $10 by calling Todd at 367-4558, or purchasing them at the door the night of the event.
In addition to thanking our veterans, we must also care for them, for they have experienced more than we will ever understand. Many veterans arrive back home suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a dangerous disease that, if left untreated, can lead to depression, homelessness, or even suicide.
The constant anxiety and psychological changes the disorder forces on veterans can cause them to turn to substance abuse, or make it extremely tough to hold a job to support themselves and their families. Every year, the constant torment from PTSD leads thousands of veterans to take their own lives. It’s estimated that 22 veterans commit suicide every day—that’s one every 65 minutes. A big part of the problem comes from not seeking help for their mental health issues.
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 those who love them with responders trained to help. Veterans, their families, and friends can call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 to talk on the phone. They can also communicate via text by sending a message to 838255, or chat online at http://veteranscrisisline.net. This critical support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
If you know a veteran who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, 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 phone 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 of 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.