Locals march to raise awareness for suicide prevention and to honor 9/11 survivors

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Valor Healthcare in partner with the Bowling Green Police Department, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and the local Veterans Affairs Clinic teamed up to walk a mile in honor of 9/11 and for suicide prevention awareness.

September 11, 2021, marks 20 years since the twin towers and the Pentagon were attacked by a terrorist group, killing thousands of Americans.

Additionally, this month is suicide prevention awareness month.

In honor of the fallen and to help raise awareness for suicide prevention, locals marched a mile with flags and signs on Friday around the Fairview Plaza area in Bowling Green lead by Penny Ritchie, the center operation director for the Bowling Green Veterans Affairs Clinic.

“We just wanted to do this walk. We’re going to do a one-mile walk in honor of the 2,977 souls that were lost that day we walk in honor of our servicemen to whom we’ve invited here with us today we honor the fireman policeman and the veterans who stood up and took the challenge deserve after 9/11,” said Ritchie.

One local veteran, Robert Wilson, says 9/11 impacted him and his military career.

“I had already been in the military quite some time when 9/11 happened,” Wilson said. “I’d actually retire just prior so I went back in to do whatever I could to serve my country.”

Statistically, 20 veterans take their own lives per day, according to Ritchie.

Ritchie was working in an emergency room when the attacks occurred, but says the lasting impacts of 9/11 are still very evident.

“I do take care of veterans every single day the impact that this actually has now is much more surreal for me now versus what it was even at that day,” said Ritchie.

Wilson says veteran suicides is a huge problem, one he hopes will begin to get better as seeking help becomes more common.

“They have a pride thing they don’t want to reach out they don’t want to grab help they don’t wanna grab somebody town for a while help but I think if we could just get over that more of our veterans would not commit suicide,” said Wilson.

If you or a loved one are struggling, you can call the Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 or the Suicide Hotline 800-273-8255.