Our mission to End Veteran Suicide began in September 2008 when our founder, Rod Wittmier, learned of the VA statistic on Veteran Suicide. As an US Army Veteran, he was shocked that his brother and sisters of arms would be taking their lives and stood up and said "Not in my country!".
Rod and his wife Linda were in a multi-month seminar at Landmark called the 'Self-expression and Leadership Program', which required them to create a community based event. After lots of research Rod speculated that our Seasoned Veterans and our Recent Veterans needed to form into a community, regardless of their military branch or era of service. In January of 2009 they delivered their event in Buckley WA with the intention of creating this new community, it was given the name Vets Meet Vets. Around 100 Veterans from Pierce & King county WA were seated together in C shaped circles, so they could share. It also brought together 5 surrounding city mayors to speak with their Veterans and many county, state and federal resource providers to complete the formula.
Rod loves the acroynm T.E.A.M, which is 'Together Everyone Achieves Miracles'. So he gathered volunteers and leaders to start collaborating and establishing relationships with our VA and Veteran Service Organizations.
In 2010 this TEAM invented several long standing events; VA Picnic, Veteran Appreciation and the winter Blankets For Hope & VA Holiday Social for our homeless Veterans.
Running an information booth at a local military base, Rod was surprised that the name Vets Meet Vets had younger Veterans ask if this was a dating club for Veterans.
In December of 2011 Rod accepted the offer to fly under the wing of a larger more connected non-profit to rebuild his idea from the ground up. It was clear at that time that a name that matched the mission was needed and the National Alliance To End Veteran Suicide began using NA2EVS.org as its web site.
NA2EVS flew under the wing of the Veterans Family Fund of America until the end of 2013 and formed as an independant 501(C)3 non-profit in 2014. We are very grateful for the leadership of the VFFA and continue to collaborate with them on events.
We are a non-profit 501(C)3 that is totally volunteer driven.
Our volunteer champions are made up of Veterans, spouses or family members of Veterans and we use a phrase that Rod coined, 'You do not need to be a Veteran to make a difference!' We are a collaboration of business leaders, individuals, organizations that welcomes anyone with a warm heart for our Veterans and their families to join us.
We are driven by our focus areas and believe that one Veteran Suicide is way too much!
Our BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is to End Veteran Suicide, not reduce it. We are passionate about this, and understand that we can be the best in the nation at this. We believe that community and resources are key and that collaboration between organization makes all things possible. We make a stand to lift and encourage those at the VA and to partner with great initiatives like ZeroSuicide.org.
We believe in the process of Back Casting where we look out many years with a BHAG in mind and then work back to now. We are looking at how we can build a sustained resource engine to deliver superior performance relative to our mission.
We encourage you to see what is possible for you in becoming Members (individual or business) of the alliance.