TUSCALOOSA, Ala – In a poignant and heartfelt ceremony, Stillman College, in collaboration with Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs, Stillman College Office of Military Services, and Stillman College Student Affairs, today honored 152 veterans who died of suicide during the “Operation We Remember” event held on the Stillman Quad.
Valerie Wilder, Stillman College’s Director of Military Affairs and a military veteran herself, expressed the significance of the event: “Today, as a veteran, I stand here with deep respect for my fellow servicemen and servicewomen who have faced not only the battlefield but also the silent battles within. ‘Operation We Remember’ reminds us all that our commitment to veterans extends beyond their service; it extends to their well-being. We pledge to continue walking this journey with them, ensuring they receive the care and compassion they deserve.”
The event, which took place at 11 a.m., brought together students, faculty, staff, veterans, and community members to honor the memory of those who have tragically lost their lives to suicide.
Distinguished speakers, including veterans, mental health professionals, and community leaders, delivered moving speeches highlighting the importance of mental health support for veterans and the broader community. Lawanda Vanhorn, the Department of Veterans Affairs of Tuscaloosa’s Community Engagement and Partnership Coordinator, also addressed the audience, emphasizing the collaborative effort in addressing veteran suicide.
“Operation We Remember” serves as a powerful reminder of the critical issue of veteran suicide and the urgent need for increased mental health awareness and support.
Stillman College remains committed to addressing this issue and supporting the well-being of veterans and the community as a whole. The event successfully brought attention to this important cause and encouraged attendees to seek and provide help when needed.
In continuation of their commitment to mental health awareness, Stillman College is set to host the “Step Up for Suicide Prevention” event tomorrow, Sept. 27, 2023, at 6 p.m. The event will take place on Greek Row and is organized in collaboration with key partners, including the US Department of Veterans Affairs of Tuscaloosa, Stillman College Division of Student Affairs, Office of Student Development, and Veterans Resource Center. Its primary focus is on raising awareness about suicide prevention and providing support to students grappling with stressors associated with college life.
For more information about Stillman College and its ongoing initiatives, please visit stillman.edu.