This Veterans Day let’s all step up our appreciation for our country’s heroes. It’s a nice gesture when we see a Veteran to say ‘Thank you for your service’ but it doesn’t have to end with that. Ask the Veteran how they’re doing or how they’re day is going or if they’re looking for a civilian career.
As you may know Veterans have one of the highest suicide rates in the country. In the recently released 2022 National Veterans Suicide Prevention Annual Report by the Veteran Affairs, it was reported that in 2020 (the most recent data) 6,146 Veterans took their life. Suicide is now the 12th leading cause of death in America and it continues to hit the Veteran population hard. According to the recent VA report, Pennsylvania was the fifth highest on the list with 240 Veteran Suicides. Our state’s annual number has dropped every year since 2017 when we lost 294 Veterans, but at 240 we have lots of work to do and we’re not moving fast enough as we strive to reach zero.
Finances and lack of purpose could be two reasons why one might contemplate this fatal decision. The construction industry offers family-sustaining careers in both professional and labor positions. Construction professionals take pride in building Pennsylvania and with the strong work ethic Veterans are equipped to be successful in this industry.
This year the KCA, in partnership with our labor allies, went to great lengths to educate organizations and individuals who work with Veterans as they transition from the military to civilian life. The Carpenters and Laborers unions have been excellent stewards of the industry and together we worked with both to talk about the benefits of working in this industry, the type of positions and guidance for entering. We are not done either. For the remainder of this year and for the foreseeable future we plan to continue this outreach. If you are interested in learning how you and your organization can get involved, please let the KCA know.
In closing, this Veterans Day saying ‘Thank you for your service’ is appreciated, but remember you never know what a person is going through by simply looking at them and giving a passerby message. A little conversation can go a long way and can be the best way to show your appreciation.