ADVA Joins Alabama & Auburn Student Veterans in Raising Awareness about Suicide Prevention
The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs is teaming up with student veterans from the University of Alabama and Auburn University in hopes of raising awareness about suicide prevention among veterans.
Student veterans from both schools team up for Operation Iron Ruck every year during the week of the Iron Bowl and march from one school to another.
With this year’s Iron Bowl in Auburn, students will begin the four-day, 151 mile ruck march from Tuscaloosa to Auburn starting on November 24. Participants from the student Veterans organizations will carry 17 lb. rucksacks that contain donated items that the students will deliver to charities that assist Alabama’s veteran population.
The 17 lbs. symbolizes the 17 veterans who die by suicide per day nationally.
At a press conference Tuesday, ADVA Commissioner Kent Davis presented Slade Salmon from the University of Alabama and Clayton Buchanan from Auburn University with a proclamation for Operation Iron Ruck Day on November 24. ADVA also presented the groups donated items for the annual ruck march.
“It speaks volumes that the Alabama and Auburn student veterans’ associations set aside their rivalry during the week of the Iron Bowl to work together in raising awareness about veteran suicide,” said Kent Davis, who serves as the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs and Co-Chair of Alabama’s Challenge. “This march establishes a connectedness and level of support that has a lasting impact within the veteran community. I’m proud of both universities and all participants for the work they are doing to help raise awareness for veteran suicide.”
Operation Iron Ruck, which raises awareness for Veteran suicide prevention, recently became a partner of Alabama’s Challenge for Preventing Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families. The suicide prevention campaign is comprised of numerous state departments, including ADVA, the Governor’s Office, the Alabama Legislature, the Alabama National Guard, and numerous nonprofits.
For more information on Operation Iron Ruck, please contact the UA Campus Veterans Association at 205-348-0983, or the AU Student Veterans Association at 850-855-1060.