RAPID CITY, SD —The rate of suicide among U.S. veterans and soldiers continued to climb. An estimated 20+ veterans and 1 active duty soldier succumb to suicide every day. The U.S. suicide rate is now 33% higher than it was in 1999 and the suicide rate for veterans is 50% greater than their civilian counterparts.
The 6th annual ‘Gallantly Forward Gala’ set for Saturday, October 19, 2019 raises awareness about the issues facing soldiers: post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), suicide, homelessness, and the effects they have on veterans, families, friends and communities.
The evening will feature a social hour, dinner, speakers, silent/live auction and live music. Dr. Julie Ertz will MC the evening and active duty U.S. Army Sergeant Major Adin Salkanovic is the night’s featured speaker. Highly decorated, SGM Salkanovic has served on multiple deployments including four tours to Operation Iraqi Freedom and two tours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The event is organized by the Sergeant Colton Levi Derr Foundation (SCLDF). Founded in 2012, the SCLDF mission is three-fold; veteran advocacy, assistance, and public awareness of the battles soldiers face when they return home. Sergeant Colton Levi Derr suffered with PTSD following his combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. SGT Derr, U.S. Army 1st Calvary Division completed over 500 combat missions. He succumbed to suicide on April 28, 2012 following his Afghanistan mission.
Doors open at 5:00 p.m. at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center with event ceremonies kicking off at 5:45 p.m. Business attire is recommended, but not required. Tickets are $35 and must be purchased in advance.
To find out more about supporting the SCLDF mission and to order tickets, go on line to www.sergeantderrfoundation.org