A group of military veterans recently started a petition asking the White House to create an alert to help find missing veterans.
The veterans are asking for an alert similar to the Amber Alert used to find missing children, and the Silver Alert used for senior citizens.
The petitioners hope that having an Alert for veterans can also help to reduce the suicide rate among veterans.
Sgt. Will Rollins, a Marine veteran who lost 20 members of his battalion in Afghanistan, gave an interview to USA Today pleading for action on veterans committing suicide after losing 20 more members of his battalion to suicide after returning home.
“Nobody expected to deal with it 20 times,” said Sgt. Will Rollins. “We’ve lost 20 Marines, 20 men in combat and we’re now up to 20 on suicide. I just don’t think that should be a number that’s even close to each other.”
Rollins and his battalion were deployed to Afghanistan in 2008. By the time their tour was over, the unit had lost 20 men in battle.
A few weeks after the tour ended, the battalion had its first suicide. When the 20th member of Rollins’ unit took his own life, Rollins reached out to the public to make the situation known and ask for help.
“I wish I knew why it was happening. I believe if I knew why it was happening we wouldn’t have this problem to begin with,” Rollins said. “They were from all over the country. Some were married; some weren’t married. Some had children; some didn’t have children.”
“It’s pissing us off. And we want to know why. And what can we do to prevent this and stop this. We’re sick of losing our brothers. Whether it’s two or 20, it’s too many, too many.”
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, 22 U.S. military veterans commit suicide every day.
“A lot of these guys they got nowhere to turn to,” Rollins said. “They got nobody to talk to. They don’t have parents. They don’t have friends who support and appreciate them and pat them on the back. There’s got to be somebody out there with answers, somebody out there who can help these Marines.”
The petition was created on January 11 and has close to 300 signatures. It will need 99,700 signatures by February 10 to reach the goal of 100,000 signatures.