While Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), stood in front of 22 American Flags, he proudly recapped this historic day – one that he, and IAVA led the charge for. And I was left with goosebumps.
After hours on the phone, storming the Hill, and making sure our veterans are taken care of, IAVA and hundreds of others were there to watch President Barack Obama sign the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act into law. This Act will help aid in the prevention of veteran and active duty suicides among our service men and women.
“22 veterans commit suicide every day. If we can save just one life, this was all worth it,” Reickhoff reiterated at IAVA’s reception, following the bill’s signing.
My goosebumps came from the electric feeling of community that flowed through the room..
“This community that focuses on principles over politics is what made this happen,” Rieckhoff said. And we all felt it; this bill did not become law on its own. It took hundreds of people, working hours on end, to make sure the spotlight didn’t fade on our veterans. It also took Clay’s spirit.
“Clay Hunt was courageous. He was inspiring. He was awesome. This act will help continue his purpose,” Senator Bob McDonald shared.
Military service members, veterans, and their families need our support more than ever. President Obama encouraged those struggling, “If you are hurting, you are not forgotten, you are not alone. America is here for you. We need you.”
Congratulations to IAVA, and everyone involved in this extremely important and meaningful cause. You are helping to save the lives of our current and future veterans.
If you, or someone you know, are hurting, know that it’s okay to ask for help. Reach out, we’re here for you.