When the Veterans Resource Center opened at Western Nevada College in 2013, the main objective of the center was to help veterans better their lives. More recently, the center has been concerned about saving veteransâ€™ lives. With national data indicating that 22 veterans take their own lives daily, WNCâ€™s Veterans Resource Center held a march to bring awareness to the national issue of suicide among veterans returning home from war.
The Veterans Resource Center raised $1,000 from donations and the sale of T-shirts from its recent Veterans Suicide Awareness March and donated the proceeds to the Northern Nevada Veterans Resource Center.
â€œWhen it comes to suicide prevention, every bit counts,â€ said Timothy Galluzi, a pre-admissions adviser for WNCâ€™s Veterans Resource Center and a veteran of two tours of Iraq and one of Afghanistan. â€œIf the months of work that went into this event could save one vetâ€™s life, it was completely worth it.â€
Galluzi estimated that nearly 250 community members joined WNC for the 1.3-mile Veterans Suicide Awareness March on May 2. To honor and remember the more than 8,000 veterans lost to suicide annually, 8,030 flags were planted on the lawn at WNC.
Funds will help train those who work with at-risk veterans at the 20-bed facility.
â€œThese veterans are either homeless, at the brink of homelessness, or have substance abuse issues,â€ Galluzi said.
National statistics indicate that 10 times more veterans are lost to suicide once they return home than are lost in combat. Many veterans who return home are struggling with disabilities, psychological problems, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug and alcohol dependency, unemployment, financial strife and homelessness.
In 2013, WNC took a lead role in Northern Nevada in helping veterans utilize their education resources by creating a Veterans Resource Center on its Carson City campus.
WNCâ€™s Veterans Resource center provides veterans with access to VA benefit information, counseling services, tutoring and mentorship, a study room with Internet access, and a place for veterans to relax and interact with other vets.
For its concern and help toward veterans, WNC was among 250 community colleges and universities that President Barack Obama credited for making tremendous strides to meet the specific needs of present-day veterans during a 2014 national conference. More specifically, WNC was recognized at the conference for its efforts in helping service members transition from the military into higher education.
â€œAll vets who are using their benefits come through VRC and we tell them about programs and support that is there for them,â€ Galluzi said. â€œEach semester weâ€™re impacting that many more vets. We are here to support them.â€