The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Veterans Crisis Line: Suicide Prevention Month

 Stand by Them:
Show Your Support for Veterans During Suicide Prevention Month

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, an important reminder that you can make a difference in the life of a Veteran every month and every day. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs needs organizations and individuals across the country to educate their communities about the signs of suicide risk and raise awareness about the free, confidential support available from the Veterans Crisis Line. To accomplish this mission, VA encourages veterans’ communities, friends, and family members to get involved, learn more, and help spread the word to promote mental health and prevent veteran suicide.

A critical step in preventing suicide is learning to recognize warning signs. Although many at-risk veterans may not show any signs of intent to harm themselves, there are behaviors that could indicate that a veteran needs support. In addition to talking about suicide or hurting oneself, some signs that a veteran may be at risk for suicide include engaging in risky behaviors, withdrawing from family and friends, and feeling hopeless, anxious, and angry. To learn about additional signs that someone may be at risk, go to  

If a veteran you know exhibits any of these signs, trained professionals—many of them veterans themselves—at the Veterans Crisis Line can help. Just call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online at, or text to 838255 for free, confidential support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Since its launch in 2007, the Veterans Crisis Line has answered more than 640,000 calls and made more than 23,000 life-saving rescues. In 2009, an anonymous online chat service was added, which has helped more than 50,000 people. In November 2011, the Veterans Crisis Line introduced a text messaging service to provide another way for veterans to connect with round-the-clock support. Qualified and caring VA responders are also able to provide referrals to local VA services and aid veterans in getting fast-tracked mental health care within VA.

Every American can help prevent veteran suicide. During National Suicide Prevention Month, stand by our veterans and their loved ones. Spread the word about the Veterans Crisis Line and help make sure that all veterans know that confidential support is only a call, click, or text away. Go to to take the Suicide Prevention Month pledge and learn how you can educate yourself and those around you about suicide risk and the Veterans Crisis Line.

You can also visit to download free Suicide Prevention Month materials, including posters and flyers that you can print and distribute in your community; online ads in a variety of sizes and formats to display on your website; and, free, ready-to-go content for your Facebook page, Twitter feed, newsletters, or other print materials.

Our veterans stood by us. Now let’s stand by them. Together, we can make sure they get the support they earned and deserve.

Visit to learn more.

To learn about additional warning signs of crisis, go to  

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Convention Update: Friday, Aug. 10, 2012

The following names were nominated for National Officer Positions:
Various NSF Trustee positions: PNC Duane Miskulin, PNC Jerry Hotop, PNC J.P. Brown III, PNC John Sisler, PNC Jimmy T. Smith
National Judge Advocate: Joseph Sulzer
National Provost Marshal: Art Majors
National Finance Officer: William Noltner, Harold Chapman, John Cooper, and Donald Stream
National Second Vice Commander: Bill Clark and Larry Via
National First Vice Commander: John Mitchell
National Commander: Cleve Geer

Air Force Reserve Capt. Nicole Mitchell spoke to AMVETS leaders and members at the 68th Annual AMVETS National Convention on Thursday, Aug. 9. Mitchell was a meteorologist with the Weather Channel before she was terminated after disputes regarding her commitment to her military service. The Weather Channel executives claimed Mitchell’s military service interfered with her ability to successfully work at the television station.
Mitchell discussed how numerous veterans encounter harassment in the civilian workforce for serving in the military. These Reservists often hide their military service for fear that this part of their lives could negatively impact their career.
“No one should ever have to hide their military service,” said Mitchell. “No one should have to face harassment for serving one’s country or choose between military service and a career.” Mitchell joined the military when she was 17 and has currently served for more than 20 years in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. Mitchell, who comes from a military family, talked about how she refused to compromise her military service and thanked AMVETS members for supporting active duty service members and veterans in their fight against veteran discrimination.
“No one should have to be put in this situation for serving their county,” said Mitchell. She is currently pursuing a lawsuit against the Weather Channel for unrightfully terminating her, claiming the NBC Company violated the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

Maj. Gen. Keith Thurgood, Deputy Commanding General and Chief of Staff of the Army Reserve, touched upon programs that are being offered to help service members transition from military service to the civilian workforce. Thurgood touched upon the Yellow Ribbon program, Soldiers For Life program, and Heroes For Hire. Heroes For Hire provides assistance to transitioning military personnel and their spouses. Many service members have difficulty translating their skills in a resume and finding a job to support their families. Heroes For Hire provides resources to service members and asks businesses to hire veterans.
“The military does two things,” said Maj.Gen. Thurgood. “It grows leaders and delivers results.” Thurgood encouraged AMVETS to support initiatives like Heroes For Hire and the Yellow Ribbon program in order to ensure service members are counted as valuable assets in the civilian workforce.
(Photos: Top: Capt. Nicole Mitchell, USAFR, shakes hands with AMVETS National Commander Gary L. Fry after delivering remarks today on the floor of the 68th Annual AMVETS National Convention in Daytona Beach, Fla. Bottom: Maj. Gen. Keith Thurgood addresses AMVETS members at the 68th Annual AMVETS National Convention.  Photos by Brittany Barry)

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Convention Update: Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Currently, there are 54 Sad Sack groups and 16 Sackette groups that exist across the country. In order to boost membership, National AMVETS Saddest Douglas Bowen suggested opening up Sad Sacks membership to individuals in the Ladies Auxiliary and Sons of AMVETS. This measure is not meant to take away members from Sackette groups, and will only be open to members of the Ladies Auxiliary when a Sackette group does not exist in the individual’s area. Other members of the subordinate organization committee agreed that this initiative will hopefully attract new members to Sad Sacks and Sackettes.
Other new business included the new, amended Junior AMVETS constitution. The age eligibility for national officers was lowered to 13 to accommodate posts with younger aged children who would like to be considered for a National Junior AMVETS officer position.

The Gold Star Dads of America was a topic of discussion during the Community Service Committee meeting. While the committee members had not heard of the organization before, the Gold Star Dads of America is the counterpart organization of Gold Star Mothers of America.
“Every dad may not be in a marriage,” commented Debbera Ransom, a committee member. “They need support also.” The Gold Star Dads of America allow fathers to join together and offer support, camaraderie, and advice to other fathers.
Also during the committee meeting, National Programs Director Beryl Love introduced a new tool to help posts find community service opportunities. By visiting an individual can search for opportunities based on city, state, or zip code. This allows posts to assess the needs in the community and also connect with other individuals who may not know about AMVETS. The website aids posts in discovering new opportunities in their area. Community service promotes our great organization and allows members of the community to see AMVETS actively participate and address the needs of veterans, military families, and other community members.

(Photos: Top: National AMVETS Riders Juniors Liaison Joseph E. Grohs and National Saddest Douglas Bowen discuss opening Sad Sacks to members of other subordinate organizations. Bottom: Gary Maddock and Debbera Ransom listen to National Programs Director Beryl Love introduce a new tool in connecting AMVETS with community service projects at the Community Service Committee meeting. Photos by Brittany Barry)

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Friday, August 3, 2012

68th Annual AMVETS National Convention: Aug. 4-11, 2012

Tomorrow, Saturday, August 4, 2012, AMVETS will kickoff their 68th Annual National Convention at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Hotel in Daytona Beach, Fla. The convention events will take place from Aug. 4-11.

The next week, AMVETS leaders and members will be given a chance to shape the future of our great organization. From electing new leaders to voting on resolutions that set the foundation of AMVETS, our National Convention sets the stage for the coming year. From the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki to John Ross, an inspiring American hero, the 68th Annual AMVETS National Convention will be packed with information and fun!
  • Click here to visit the AMVETS website. 
  • Click here to see the 2013 resolution that will be presented at our National Convention.
  • Click here to like the AMVETS National Headquarters Facebook page.
  • Click here to join AMVETS.

Please continue to check back here throughout the upcoming week to see photos, updates, and articles concerning our National Convention in Daytona Beach, Fla.

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