According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of 22 American veterans and service members die by suicide each day.
Some Nebraska businesses are taking a creative approach to raise awareness around this issue, while also raising money to support local organizations that focus on veteran and service member suicide prevention.
Veterans Jim Stutzman (Lazy Horse Brewing & Winery) and Mark Kraus IV (Lost Way Brewing) — as well as former law enforcement officer, Rodney Keim (Brush Creek Brewing) — have created a limited-edition beer to benefit area Buddy Check programs for veterans. Buddy Check programs offer social gatherings for veterans dedicated to reducing and eliminating veteran suicide.
The veterans’ collaborative beer — a German lager beer titled To Helles with 22 a Day — will be sold with $5 donated to charity from every purchase. The name is a nod to the estimated 22 veterans who die by suicide every day.
The beer will be available at all three brewery locations after Saturday, Dec. 7, and the Veterans Services Division of Lutheran Family Services will distribute donations to local Buddy Check programs on behalf of the breweries.
The public is invited to the release event on Saturday, Dec. 7, which is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, at Lazy Horse Brewing in Ohiowa.
In addition to canning demonstrations and sales of the fundraising brew, the event will feature two showings of the film, “SILENCE,” at 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The short film was created by and features veterans and their family members. The film aims to break the silence about PTSD and depression. Filmmakers are requesting a free-will donation after each viewing with proceeds to benefit the Buddy Check program.