The Heart of Texas Veterans One Stop hosted its annual suicide awareness month balloon release on Thursday.
The veteran service organization does the event as part of September being National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
Retired Brigadier General George Brinegar told the crowd it was an emotional ceremony to be a part of.
“The one thing that continues to haunt me since the day of retirement, is suicide and suicides. That’s the one problem that I could not fix," Brinegar said. “Suicide is all of our problems. Suicide awareness is our task."
During the event, representatives from 22 different groups impacted by suicide, release balloons to represent the 22 veterans who take their own lives every day.
Christopher Wolff, a U.S. Air Force Veteran, who was representing Guardian for Heroes admits he considered committing suicide 10 years ago when his health started to decline.
“In 2008 when I got the flu shot, I laid in a hospital bed and the prognosis was that I was going to be a vegetable for the rest of my life," Wolff said.
On Thursday, he released the balloon in memory of a family friend and veteran he recently lost to suicide.
“His focus was being the motivator to stop people from doing this and sadly took his life because of it," Wolff said.
Stephen Jackel who lost both of his legs while serving in the U.S. Army in 2011 died in January.
“The pain of that. It doesn’t subside. It never will. Knowing that I know more than one veteran that has taken his life, it’s hard," Wolff said.
Veterans One Stop Director Delisa Russel said groups must come together to address the problem.
“It’s important to recognize that we are actively at war or if the war is within, that we continue to have to fight until we resolve this issue," Russel said.
Wollf said he hopes to be part of the solution.
“If you are a veteran out there and you find yourself that you are alone. First of all, you are never alone. We are in the military, we are a family,” Wollf said.
This is the third year, the organization has held the event.
If you are veteran and need help, you can call the Veterans Crisis line at 1-800-273-8255 and press one.
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