Wisconsin Dells event helps military past and present fight suicide

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Five organizations are collaborating for the “2-22 to Save 22” event at the Kalahari Resorts in the Wisconsin Dells on Tuesday. The groups hope to help current military members and veterans deal with suicide and adjust to civilian life.

Onward and Upward, Project Diehard, Veterans and Warriors One Stop Shop and others are hosting the event. It starts at nine o’clock and runs throughout the day, with guest speakers, meditation sessions and a job fair. Organizers say the goal is to give veterans a sense of community.

“When we’re in the army, we’re told what we’re going to do, when we’re going to do it and how we’re going to do it, and we’re with a group of people, but when we leave the army, we’re not more in a group of people, we are alone,” said Annamarie Bliven, founder of Onward and Upward.

Bliven says there are well over 30 military suicides every day. She says one of the key things to changing that statistic is giving veterans a sense of community and direction.

“When you go from a brisk pace to a literally slow walk, it changes your life,” said Justin Jones, founder of VWOSS.

Jones says he was once on the verge of suicide, but found community and purpose after his military career. Now he hopes to give others the same.

Jones and Bliven say they hope to make this first event an annual resource.

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