NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - Soldiers who survive the battlefield sometimes end up taking their own lives when they come back home. But a new group is trying to find solutions to the problem and held their first ever Veterans Initiative meeting in Niagara Falls Wednesday night.
Turnout was low for this first ever meeting of the initiative started by two local veterans who insist on changing a startling statistic that 22 veterans take their own lives each day.
Co-founder Tim Teach said, "And 22 more will attempt it or accomplish it tomorrow."
Teach is a veteran of Desert Storm. He and co-founder and Vietnam veteran Bob Chambers are working through VeteransInitiative.org.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a public campaign to get out the word about a Crisis Hotline just for Veterans.
V.A. Suicide Prevention Coordinator Joan Chipps said, "One of the best things that we can do and one of the biggest steps that we can help veterans to do is start talking and just know that there's somebody there who cares and wants to listen and who wants to help."
Chambers said, "Look at the statistics...22 a day...How many more crisis hotlines that aren't working do they plan on putting up? We know that the employees at the V.A. Hospital are among the best. The problem is the V.A., not the V.A. medical system."
"It's the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington and it's bureaucracy problems that maintain a 79 percent denial and remediation rate on veterans' claims."
Here's another startling statistic: Of the Iraqi War veterans who were married when they went overseas, 90 percent of those marriages ended in divorce.
Though there wasn't much turnout for the first ever meeting of the Veterans Initiative, these two veterans say they will have a second and third meeting. To find out when those will be, contact Chambers via e-mail or call him at 876-9815.
Buffalo Police have arrested 26-year-old Nicholas Finnegan of South Buffalo and charged him with pushing Russ Ross to his death.
The Niagara County Sheriff's responded to Saunders Settlement Road near Comstock in Cambria Friday night after receiving a tip about a suspected meth lab.
Police say there were 32 burglaries, 20 in Albion, five in Medina, four in Oakfield and three in the City of Lockport.
Firefighters had to withdraw from a smoky fire in Blasdell at a multi-dwelling home on South Park Avenue Friday night because the flames were so intense.
Call 4 Action looked into claims this week that members of BJ's Wholesale Club were paying too much on sales tax on some deeply discounted items.
State Police in Pennsylvania are investigating an alleged pedophile pastor already facing charges in Western New York.