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The 4th Annual VeteRUN will be a virtual 5K this year as a result of restrictions placed on crowd size because of COVID-19.  Every year at least one charity supported by this event has focused on veteran suicide prevention.  Mighty Oaks has been the benefactor the last 2 years and will again benefit this year.  Veteran suicide became an issue for me when my father, a WW2 veteran of the Navy and a veteran who served in-country during the Vietnam War decided to take his own life on October 20, 2002.  Like any other son it was a personal burden that I carried until 2018 when I attended Mighty Oaks down in southern California.  When I attended this life touching program, the dots finally started to connect.  I came to really understand the scope of the problem and it was no longer a personal loss, it represented a loss to society to learn the scope of veteran suicide and just as important the impact of it on the families left behind.

My father took his life more than 6,536 days ago and for 6,536 days I have wondered if there was something that I missed that could have prevented this family tragedy.  No one should have to experience 6,536 days of regret wondering what they missed or what they could have done.  Mighty Oaks helped me understand at the deepest levels how precious life is and why the premature removal of one of God’s children has a deep and personal effect on families and communities.

This year Mighty Oaks will receive 50% of the proceeds from this event.  The other 50% will go to a charity that is bringing a 360’ replica of the Vietnam Wall with all 58,000+ names that are on the one in Washington DC to southern Oregon.  That war lasted 16 years and with 22 veterans committing suicide every single day, if we carry out the number of suicides over the length of the Vietnam War, more than twice as many veterans would have committed suicide as were killed in Vietnam.  The Wall has already been purchased and the 50% of the funds raised will help have it installed permanently here in southern Oregon.

This is what I propose my brothers.  You have all been touched by our Lord through the remarkable benefit of Mighty Oaks.  The VeteRUN is a virtual event that will last from October 1st through October 22.  Do you know someone whose name is on the Vietnam Wall or do you know anyone who has either committed or attempted suicide either during or after service?  Would you be willing to donate $22 in the memory of that soul or if you are into walking or running, would you register for $22 to participate in the VeteRUN right where you live now?  Being a virtual event, you can participate anywhere in the world and since the event is 22 days long you should be able to figure out how to squeeze in a walk or run over that span of time.

Here is how you can help.  You can write a check to NCOA and mail it to Rogue Chapter, POB 5597, Central Point, OR 97502 or with a credit card you can go to our website at https://ncoarogue.org.  Use the VeteRUN tab and to register scroll down to the register button and follow directions.  To donate in memory of someone use the donate button.  Thank you for your prayerful consideration.  Feel free to share with other veterans or family and friends.