ASHLAND, KY (WOWK) — The 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks is days away.
One organization is beginning a project to show appreciation for the service members who protect our country.
You may be seeing some new posters popping up around the Tri-State in support of military service men and women as the anniversary approaches, with an important goal in mind.
Those who work with veterans in the region have noticed a serious and troubling pattern:
“In the 20 years since 9/11, four times as many veterans have died by suicide as have died in war operations. A good portion of those are Vietnam veterans. And so, I just think we must learn from history or we’re doomed to repeat it. So we must acknowledge these folks, their service,” says Ronne Nunley, chief business development officer with Pathways in Ashland, Kentucky.
To help do that, a coalition between Pathways, the Tri-County Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse
Policy (KY-ASAP) Local Board, the Pathways Regional Prevention Center (RPC), Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF), and Veterans 4 Veterans came up with the ‘Military Appreciation Project.’
“We decided to do these posters and to try to get them out—particularly in Boyd County and Lawrence County, Ohio; just to let them know, we noticed, and we appreciate you. We want you to know that you are not forgotten and you have a community that supports you,” Nunley says.
Those close to the project say it’s as important as ever to get this message out to local veterans.
“We’re approaching the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and then we have the situation in Afghanistan, and then you have COVID, where folks have been isolated, it’s just been very very difficult,” Nunley says.
Organizers of this project say the goal is to get these posters up anywhere a veteran might see them.
“We want them everywhere so that when veterans go out, they can see in a tangible way, ‘I am not forgotten,'” Nunley says.
Jeffrey Gibson, who works with veterans and is one himself, sees these posters as being beneficial.
“They [veterans] just don’t think that anyone cares or they just suffer in that silence, but if they’re at the gas station grabbing a snack and they see that poster there, that’s what we want is to plant that seed of hope,” Gibson says.
The posters are free to any business or individual who wants one.
To get ahold of one, reach out to Pathways at (606) 329-8588 ext. 4109, ext. 4099, or the helpline at 1(800) 562-8909.
For more information about Pathways, visit their webpage here.
Additionally, the coalition will be in the Ashland Town Center and The Traders Cafe in Ironton, Ohio, on September 11th distributing ‘Thank You’ bags to veterans, active military personnel, and their families. The bags will contain resources for help as well as an assortment of ‘thank you’ gifts.