Ride and film screening to raise awareness of veteran suicides, resources for vets

MILWAUKEE _ The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Military and Veterans Resource Center is sponsoring an event at the Harley-Davidson Museum on Friday, Sept. 16, to promote awareness of the suicide rate among veterans and showcase prevention resources.

The public is welcome, and veterans, their families and service providers are especially encouraged to attend. A barbeque dinner will be available to all attendees.

The centerpiece of the event is a showing at 6 p.m. of “Project 22,” a documentary of a cross-country motorcycle ride by two veterans, Doc King and Daniel Egbert, to promote awareness of the suicide rate among veterans and to find solutions for themselves and other veterans. The screening will be followed by followed by a panel discussion including King and Egbert, other veterans and Michael McBride, a psychiatrist at the Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Milwaukee, who will answer questions from the audience.

The event begins with a 22-mile motorcycle ride from the UWM UPark lot at E. Capitol Drive and N. Humboldt Blvd., through the city to Wood National Cemetery at the VA Medical Center, then to the Harley-Davidson Museum at S. 6th and W. Canal streets. The riders will gather at the UPark at 1:30 p.m. and are expected to arrive at the museum at 4:30.

A resource fair of organizations offering assistance to veterans dealing with the emotional wounds of military service will begin at the museum at 4:30 p.m.

UW-Milwaukee and the resource fair participants are also preparing a new online suicide awareness/prevention initiative inspired by Project 22.

The title of “Project 22” refers to the suicide rate among veterans, estimated at 22 per day, according to the VA. The film details the story of veterans Doc King and Daniel Egbert, who launched a 22-day, 6,500-mile cross-country mission to raise awareness of the high rate of suicide among veterans. During their journey, they interviewed researchers, healthcare providers and veterans. Many of those they encountered had either contemplated or attempted suicide and shared the life-saving alternative sources of hope that they found. Asking hard-hitting questions and opening up about their own struggles, the veteran filmmakers share their explorations of hopeful solutions to the problem. The trailer for the film can be seen at https://vimeo.com/121737934.

More information is available online at www.facebook.com/Project22MKE. Volunteers who would like to help with the event can sign up at http://www.signupgenius.com/ go/4090c4aa4ac28abf49-project.

The project was made possible with the support of the Charles E. Kubly Foundation, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Dryhootch Milwaukee.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Jayne Holland, hollan38@uwm.edu, (414) 229-7211