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Too many veteran suicide

Too many veteran suicide (KTUL)

Vigils were held in cities all across the country on Monday.

The list included a ceremony at the Oklahoma State Capitol Building

February 22nd was chosen because it represents 22 suicides by U.S. veterans that are taking place every day.

While some said that estimate is too high and other said it is too low there is no disagreement about the problem.

The experts all said that too many people who've served our country are killing themselves.

Very few of us will ever know what it's like to travel half way around the world and risk our lives for our country.

Those who have, have often experienced terrible realities that have changed them forever.

Everyone who's been in the military for a long time has a big adjustment when it comes to the civilian world.

They leave a culture that has a rigid team environment with a special language and a way of getting things done.

So moving to the civilian world can result in a real cultural shock even if you never saw combat.

Dorea Walker spent 13 successful years in army administration and recruiting, but she ran into major financial problems when she left the military.

Walker said, "Everything about us was suck it up, drive on, you push it under the rug and it was all about the mission. But then when the mission changed and was to something we are not familiar with, there's a sense of loss."

Walker said she's now doing fine and runs her own business.

But because of her brush with being broke, she can understand how some vets can get in far worse trouble and become desperate.

The staff at The Coffee Bunker, near 41st and Sheridan, works to help veterans make the needed adjustments.

They said we can all be part of the solution, by engaging and welcoming our veterans.

The Coffee Bunker's Matt Englebach said, "That's probably one of those areas where average everyday individuals who have no training in anything, as far as transitioning, mental health, whatever. This can happen nationwide today."

He said inviting a vet for a cup of coffee or a golf game could have a huge impact.

A Catoosa police officer, who also a veteran, says he's learned that some troubled vets just need to be heard.

Faxon said, "Sometimes just leaving them be and the sometimes pushing for the answer. it's a very difficult balance because you need to know the person."

Engleback said when you extend an invitation to a vet, let them know it is open ended.

You may have to ask two or three times but before they agree to get together, but it goes a long way towards making them feel like a part of the community.

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