American Legion uses Ganassi’s sponsorship to educate veterans about suicide
INDIANAPOLIS – The American Legion launched a new campaign to end veterans suicide, using his sponsorship of the # 48 Dallara-Honda driven by Tony Kanaan in Sunday’s Indy 500 to raise awareness.
Friday marked National Poppy Day, which is “honoring the dead by helping, remembering, serving and supporting the living,” said Sergeant Major Michael Barrett, who took part in a press conference Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Kanaan, team owner Chip Ganassi. and Dean Kessel, director of marketing for the American Legion.
Noting that Poppy Day commemorates the start of Memorial Day sightings, Barrett said the same principles apply in addressing the issue of veteran suicide.
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“Saying ‘we remember’ and ‘thank you for your service’ just isn’t enough,” said 17-year-old American Legion member Michael P. Barrett.e Sergeant Major of the United States Marine Corps. “The best way to honor those who gave their lives to this country is to support and protect those who served alongside them. I’m talking about the men and women who have watched their friend take his last breath in battle or experience one of the other horrors of war they now have to live with for the rest of their lives. I am here today to ask you – no, I implore you – to honor the veterans of our country by joining us in giving all we have to end veteran suicide.
During a video released at the press conference, No.48 co-pilot Jimmie Johnson noted that more than 20 veterans kill themselves every day.
Today, @AmericanLegion announced his mission to end veteran suicide and called on all Americans to join the effort. At Veterans United, we are honored to answer this call with a supportive pledge of $ 2 million.
– Veterans United (@veteransunited) May 27, 2021
Upon launching the campaign, Veterans United Home Loans presented a check to the American Legion for $ 2 million which will be used to expand programs and opportunities for Legionaries to obtain peer support training and distribute important mental health and wellness tools and resources through the American Legion infrastructure. .
The American Legion plans to focus on lobbying for legislation, program implementation and training to strengthen peer support networks for legionaries and increasing peer support research.
“From the day we were founded after World War I, the American Legion has been charged with tackling the most significant issues facing veterans in our country,” said American Legion National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford in a statement. “First, it was the creation of the Office of Veterans Affairs, now known as the Department of Veterans Affairs. Then it was in drafting the GI Bill. We have continued to study and fight for disability relief for veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure, and much more. With our mission and infrastructure, we can lead the battle to end veteran suicide on all fronts, and that is exactly what we intend to do.
“We have to do something now,” Barrett said. “We need to show our nation’s veterans that there are welcoming spaces, like the American Legion, where they can speak with a sympathetic ear and have useful resources to get the support they need.