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Racine-based Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin to receive $1.5M grant to help fight suicide

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Tomato grows at the James A. Peterson Veteran Village

A ripening tomato grows in the garden at the James A. Peterson Veteran Village, 1624 Yout St., in August 2019. Gardening efforts at the veterans' tiny home village are led by John Gruve, who had lived there since May of that year.

RACINE — Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin has been approved for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant.

The total amount to be received is $1,527,489 over three years; the organization is to receive $509,163.28 a year, according to a news release from VOW issued Wednesday.

With this grant, VOW will focus on increasing the public’s knowledge of risk factors for suicide, recognition of warning signs and preparedness to support and respond.

VOW operates the nationally renowned tiny home village for veterans at risk of homelessness at 1624 Yout St., Racine.

The Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program enables VA to provide resources toward community-based suicide prevention efforts to meet the needs of veterans and their families through outreach, suicide prevention services and connection to VA and community resources, according to the VA website.

In alignment with VA’s National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide, this grant program assists in further implementing a public health approach that blends community-based prevention with evidence-based clinical strategies through community efforts. The grant program is part of the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019, signed into law on Oct. 17, 2020.

Partners are Captain John D. Mason Peer Outreach program and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Racine County. The three organizations will combine efforts “to utilize a wraparound approach to address concerns in any area of a veteran’s life,” a release said.

Zach Zdroik, Racine County veterans service officer

Zdroik

“By collaborating with these incredible programs in Capt. John D. Mason and NAMI of Racine, it allows us to connect with more veterans in the community,” stated VOW Executive Director Zach Zdroik. “We’re going from helping hundreds to helping thousands and we are ready for the challenge.”

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