Opinion: The VA Needs a Veteran Suicide Funeral Loan Program

Opinion: The VA Needs a Veteran Suicide Funeral Loan Program

Once A Soldier Advocates for a New Bill to Help Veteran Suicide Families

The VA Home Loan program continues to provide value to Veterans and it is a well-earned feather in the cap of the Veterans’ Administration. Once A Soldier believes that a similar government backed loan program needs to be made into law. Significantly smaller in scope than the successful VA Home Loan Program, it will still mean a great deal to our Veteran families.

Now, with the close of the war in Afghanistan, more soldiers will be coming home. We know that transition out of a war zone has is a bumpy road for many. For some, getting a job, keeping it, and just fitting back in seems like a lost cause. Add in the curse of PTSD, and we get a Veteran suicide rate like we have now. 

Additionally, sixteen of the twenty-two military suicides happen to a Veteran and therefore their family. Often times they witness it. They need to clean it up in both ways. It is a great American tragedy.

To us, Veteran families have earned this program in a way to only a Veteran family can. Service means deployments, low pay, and frequent re-assignments. A suicide is one cross too many to bear, in our opinion. We think most people from all countries would agree.

John Rutherford, R-Florida pledges his support for our cause, and we are asking him and the rest of the Congress to consider this Veteran Family Suicide Funeral Home Loan Program. Once you see the vaule, the right thing to do is to act now. 

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Why We Will Never Stop Soldier Suicide

Why We Will Never Stop Soldier Suicide

Suicide Will Always Be With Us

If you look at suicide statistics in America, you’ll see that the annual age-adjusted suicide rate is 13.42 per 100,000 individuals. Men die by suicide 3.53x more often than women. On average, there are 132 suicides per day. The daily average for Veteran suicide is 16 per day. That’s over 10% of all suicides in America. Not to understand the problem, but something’s going on with our troops who turn into Veterans.

Three reasons why we won’t stop Veteran suicide:

WE ARE WASTING TIME AND MONEY

First off: stop thinking that dogs, horses, rucks, comraderie will change the rate. They don’t. Veterans do get temporary help with them, but they do nothing to stop the root cause: PTSD

With four years under our belts, the rates are rising, not falling. Why? Vets are coming home with PTSD.

WE SUPPORT THE WRONG CAUSES

Second, stop supporting nonprofit charities that don’t have solid data to show that what they do stops Veteran suicide. Most don’t. America’s donations to Veterans organizations is second only to children’s nonprofits. Our heads need to get in front of our hearts.

CONGRESS AND THE VA ARE TOO LITTLE TOO LATE

Third, stop trying to pass bills that support feel good suicide prevention methods. All this does is promote nonprofits designed to get grant money. Our Congressman, John Rutherford, has reintroduced a bill that sums up all three issues: dogs as PTSD medicine which doesn’t work, nonprofits that don’t have data to show how they save lives and stop Veteran suicide. Dogs make cuddly headlines and they do stop that one suicide attempt. but more are coming.

Finally, until there is peace all over the world and there are no more wars, we will always have soldiers going into battle. They will bring home with them PTSD and they will continue to kill themselves unless we learn to how to defeat PTSD.

 

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

 

Speaking On A National Crisis With Representative Rutherford

Speaking On A National Crisis With Representative Rutherford

 “Positive Progress”
The Latest on Stopping Veteran Suicide

Speakers Forum on October 25, 2020

Every two days, more United States veterans die by suicide than were killed in action during all of last year. But despite this disturbing statistic, and after almost nineteen years of post-9/11 conflicts, lawmakers and Defense Department officials still are no closer to ending the suicide crisis affecting veterans and their families throughout the country. The issue is complex – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can manifest itself in a multitude of ways, and there isn’t any guarantee for mental health care access to the veterans who need it most.

John Rutherford

John Rutherford

Congressman (R) from District 4 - FL

St. Augustine Event Presented by Once A Soldier

“Positive Progress” Speakers Forum featuring Rep. John Rutherford
When: October 25, 2020 from 6pm to 7:30 pm
Where: Gourmet Hut (17 Cuna Street, St. Augustine, FL)
Admission: Free — Seating is Limited to 45 Attendees
Complimentary hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine

Reserve Your Seat Here 


ABOUT THE EVENT

Once A Soldier’s team is dedicated to helping families in the United States who have been affected by a veteran’s suicide. It is our main mission to provide financial aid to families burdened by funeral and other expenses when a veteran they love takes their own life. In order to take our mission to the next level, and help even more families in need, we have been working with the Congressional Representative from Florida’s Fourth District, Rep. John Rutherford. Representative Rutherford and his team have listened to the needs of our organization and understand the scope of the problem our nation is facing when it comes to veteran suicide.

In order to raise awareness of this important issue right here in the Northeast Florida community, Representative Rutherford will be speaking at the Gourmet Hut (17 Cuna Street, St. Augustine, FL) on October 25th from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Along with other speakers from a veteran-owned PTSD clinic, and a father of a fallen soldier, Rep. Rutherford will be speaking about what it takes to combat the veteran and soldier suicide crisis. Get the details here.

Hosted outdoors in historic downtown St. Augustine, “Positive Progress – The Latest on Stopping Veteran Suicide” promises to set the standard on how we can tackle this issue from all sides and start saving lives. Rep. Rutherford will discuss how this will take a combined effort from the both legislative branch and the private sector. He will also share stories from the front lines to bring this issue completely into focus.

After the speakers have wrapped up, Once A Soldier will host a question and answer session. This is a great opportunity to speak one-on-one with the Founder and discuss any of our current and future initiatives. In addition, there will be complimentary beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres available throughout at the event. This is the only event of it’s kind and the outdoor seating is limited.

To abide by social distancing guidelines, all seating will be spaced appropriately, and masks are mandatory.

If you are interested in attending this free event, RSVP here!

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

We Did It! A Bill for Our Families Is One Step Closer

We Did It! A Bill for Our Families Is One Step Closer

Congressional Legislative Director Nick Vance Meets With Once a Soldier

Representative John Rutherford (R) Represents Our Home District

After our first productive meeting in August of 2019 with Florida Representative John Rutherford’s District Director Chris Miller, we took the next step and met with Nick Vance, the Legislative Director.

“It’s a very long road for a bill to become a law, but we’re on the path now. This will be a big win for our veteran families of soldier suicide.” says David Barbush, Founder and CEO of Once a Soldier. Those sentiments came just after Mr. Barbush’s meeting with Representative John Rutherford’s Legislative Director Nick Vance.

During the 30-minute exchange, Mr. Vance showed a clear understanding of how best to advance our common goals. There was also a clear message of writing a bill that would grant funds for those programs that would help with the emotional support needed by veteran families after a suicide.

Next Steps for Our Families

Once a Soldier offered to bring one of our families to Washington D. C. to let Congress hear their stories first hand. That offer was accepted even though no date or clear opportunity was identified.

Secondly, Once a Soldier also offered to pen a first draft with preface language that would set the table for the details of the bill. That offer was graciously passed upon, as the office of Florida’s Fourth District congressman can take the lead.

Furthermore, timely follow-up on the progress was promised by Mr. Vance as he navigates his landscape inside the halls of Congress. Recent bills related to our cause were forwarded by Mr. Rutherford. The PAWS Act would mandate the financial support for nonprofit veteran charities that train PTSD service dogs and their veteran owners. That Act is still trying to get passed, but it shows that we have a friend in the right place.

 

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.