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Sarasota National Cemetery Employees Step In to Save a Veteran

Compliments of: Written by: Chris Erbe

An opportunity to help a Veteran, or anyone else, in a crisis situation can happen at any time. Cemetery representative James Knight and his colleagues at Sarasota National Cemetery in Florida recently had such an opportunity.

Knight sat down with a Veteran in the cemetery’s conference room one afternoon to plan a funeral service. The Veteran’s wife had passed away six months earlier and her cremated remains were to be inurned at the cemetery the following day. Knight noticed that the Veteran was very depressed over the loss of his life partner and became concerned when the Veteran said that he planned to join her through the act of suicide sometime after the funeral. After speaking more to him, Knight felt that the Veteran was quite serious about his plans.

Knight reached out to his co-workers to help him talk to the distraught Veteran. They gathered as much information as they could about him including his home address, phone number and the fact that he had family living up north.

After the Veteran left the cemetery, the cemetery employees contacted the local sheriff from the county where he lived and a counselor at the local VA Vet Center. Both were on hand the next day to talk with the Veteran after the inurnment ceremony. He continued to speak of harming himself, so the sheriff’s deputies took him to a hospital for care and counseling.

Knight and his colleagues saw the Veteran being driven in the cemetery several days later by a gentleman they had not seen before. They were pleased to learn the driver was the Veteran’s son from up north. He had been contacted by the sheriff’s department and had come to bring his father back to live with them.

September is Suicide Prevention Month and a good time to raise our own awareness about the signs of suicide risk and the steps that we can take to intervene. At medical centers around the country, VA sponsors community events, health fairs and training sessions to educate and inform about ways that we can help diffuse a crisis and save someone’s life. For more information about how you can help Veterans access mental health support, click here.

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About Posted by Susan Bainbridge

At age 6, Susan was destined to be a journalist and photographer. In 1980, Susan founded Bainbridge News and The Bainbridge Chronicle Newspaper. Bainbridge News specializes in Military and National Politics, including Military Funerals and Burials and Political Funerals and Burials. Susan has covered the White House, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill. She has covered every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. Recognized for her versatility, Susan has also covered finance, crime, civil rights events, marches, sports, musical events and more. In 1990, she established Bainbridge Photography, an On-Location photography company. In addition to military and political events, including Military and Political funerals and burials, Bainbridge Photography expanded into covering ALL funerals and burials, receptions, weddings, real estate, inventory, insurance, portrait, head shot, pets, fire and Hazmat. Miss Bainbridge believes in going the extra mile. "My Clients always come first." In 1980, Susan began her career in Washington, D.C., working for WMZQ Radio as a reporter and guest hostess from 1980 to 1985. Intrigued by radio, Susan wanted to write, freelancing for radio, television and print newspapers, including AP, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Northern Virginia Sun, The Press-Republicanand The Bainbridge Chronicle (established by Susan Bainbridge). In 1986, Susan worked at WDCA-TV Channel 20 as a guest hostess for "Eye On Washington." From 1990 to 1994, Susan reported and anchored for "The Arlington Weekly News." Additionally, she produced a segment for the G. Gordon Liddy Radio Show. A prolific writer, while in high school in 1977, Bainbridge wrote an episode for NBC's "Little House on The Prairie" entitled "Laura's Best Friend." Though the show's producers did not use the script then, NBC producers encouraged Susan to pursue a writing and journalism career. Susan is a member of the National Press Club, the National Press Photographer's Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Susan Bainbridge's recognitions include from former Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the late actor Lorne Greene, among many others. BAINBRIDGE NEWS was founded in 1980 by Susan Bainbridge (a sixth generation writer), a third generation journalist, a first generation photographer and a fourth generation entrepreneur. She is the first generation to establish a news business. Bainbridge News is dedicated in honor of Miss Bainbridge's late grandfather and idol, Mark S. Watson (The Baltimore Sun editor and war correspondent from 1920 to his death in 1966).

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