The Battle Creek VA Alive and Running VA5K for Veteran Suicide Prevention Awareness kicked off in a different fashion this year. Instead of having hundreds of participants together at once, the kick-off was done on Facebook live. The runners and walkers will be doing their part virtually to help raise awareness.

From left: Jennifer Quinn, suicide prevention coordinator; Mathew Raad, suicide prevention coordinator; Dr. Ketan Shah, chief of staff; Michelle Martin, medical center director; Lindsey Cord, suicide prevention coordinator; Dr. Suzanne Fabeck, acting associate director; and Jessica Gray, human resource specialist.

While it may be too late to register for a T-shirt and medal, it is not too late to do your part. Everyone can still participate virtually by walking, running or sharing information to raise awareness for Veteran Suicide Prevention.

Packets were distributed on Sept. 19, which would have been the normal day of the event.

“While this is not how we pictured our 8th Annual Alive and Running VA5K… we are so grateful we can come together like this to support our Veterans and Service Members while raising awareness for suicide prevention,” said Lindsey Cord, suicide prevention coordinator.

In the photo above, suicide prevention coordinator Mathew Raad presents a VA5k bib and medal to Jennifer Quinn.

You can participate until October 3

Even if you weren’t able to register for this event, you can still participate with us and go run, walk or ride 5K until Oct. 3. Tag our Facebook page and Hashtag #BeThere #AliveandRunningVA5k.

“Our team is focused on the community health approach to suicide prevention.” said Michelle Martin, medical center director. “Together, we can all Be There for Veterans. We appreciate the help of individuals, groups or organizations who help us raise awareness on this important topic.”

The Alive and Running VA5K is another way that the community can be involved. The event organizers hope to return to an in-person event next year but did not want to lose momentum on this important topic. Suicide is preventable. Together, we can all make a difference.

Be There suggests several simple actions that can help make a difference for a Veteran:

  • Learning about the warning signs of suicide, found on the Veterans Crisis Line website.
  • Watching the free S.A.V.E. training video to learn how to respond with care and compassion if someone indicates they are having thoughts of suicide.
  • Contacting VA’s Coaching Into Care program where a licensed psychologist or social worker will provide loved ones with guidance for motivating Veterans to seek support.
  • Sharing stories of hope and recovery from VA’s Make the Connection.
  • Reaching out to the Veterans in your life to show them you care by sending a check-in text, cook them dinner or simply asking, “How are you?”

For more information and resources visit BeThereForVeterans.com.


Brian Pegouske is an Army Veteran and the public affairs officer at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center.

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