Veterans returning home may have survived combat, but for many, the battle is not over. Dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues reintegrating back into the community is a rough road.
That is why Marine Corps veteran Bill Carr headed out on the Hudson River in a kayak he helped build at the Hudson Valley National Center for Veteran Reintegration’s woodworking shop.
What You Need To Know
- A group of veterans kayaked 45 miles on the Hudson River to help bring awareness to veteran suicide and homelessness
- According to the New York State Health Foundation, in 2017, 136 veterans in the state died by suicide
- Seven former Veterans Affairs secretaries are calling for November 21 to be declared “National Warrior Call Day"
“It’s nice to see your craft come together and see the final product work, and work well,” Carr said.
When Carr joined the program in 2017, he struggled after returning home from serving two combat tours in Afghanistan. He says it was a rough time for him, spending a lot of time in bars dealing with the things he saw and the loss of people in his life.
But with the help of the center, he says he was able to turn things around, even becoming the wood shop manager for the program. So when he heard six other veterans were going on a four-day, 45-mile trip along the Hudson River to help bring awareness to veteran suicide and homelessness, he signed up.
“Making sure people are aware … it's still anywhere between 18 and 22 veterans a day commit suicide. So trying to lower that number,” said Carr.
According to the New York State Health Foundation, in 2017, 136 veterans in the state committed suicide.
During the trip, the group held fireside chats to discuss their issues and concerns, live-streaming them in the hopes of connecting with other veterans struggling with similar issues and show there is support available.
Carr says he wants veterans to know they are not alone and to pick up the phone and reach out for help. He says being around other veterans helped him cope with his own problems.
To continue to raise public awareness about veteran and military suicides, seven former Veterans Affairs secretaries are calling for November 21 to be declared “National Warrior Call Day.”