Peer Center

Jun 11, 2024 by Rose O'Keefe

In her opener, VOC Executive Director Laura Heltz touched on tough times growing up, in the U.S. Army, and times when she had no support, and time when she did. That difference reinforced her goal to end the epidemic of suicides in the military. Another speaker talked about how lonely it felt coming home and not having anyone to talk to who knew what it was like to be in the military.

As I sat there, I thought about my late brother who served in the Marine Reserves in the 1960s. He was a quiet guy and did not have an easy time of it. My late dad served in the Navy Reserves in the 1940s, but seldom said anything about it. My husband was as a social worker in the Army during the Vietnam years and seldom talked about it. And my British grandfather whom I never knew, served with honors in the cavalry.

By the time I got home, I felt overwhelmed with sadness, pride and gratitude. Now that our grandson is serving on a submarine in the Navy, I worry about military suicides. On a visit home, he told me he had been warned that everyone he was close to was still in their world and wouldn’t understand how much his life had changed. I am thankful that this peer center exists and pray that all who need it, find their way there. #VOC; #RochesterNY; #StevePrestonPeerConnectionCenter; #honorguard; #suicideprevention; #militaryservice; #support;