22 warriors

22 Warriors Foundation (Facebook)

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) – The Las Vegas nonprofit 22 Warriors is taking extra care to help local veterans around the holidays.

Each day through the year, an estimated 22 veterans kill themselves. 

"I think it's very hard for someone to ask for help. And if they're going to, someone has to be there for them,” said 22 Warriors board member Chere Pedersen.

Pedersen said she tries to answer the phone day or night for veterans because she understands what they're going through.

"In my own experience with my son who was a combat medic and my father who was Vietnam-era veteran, I've seen them both come back changed,” said Pedersen. “I think talking with somebody is the most important thing to do."

Talking about it helped save Bill Emmel.

"I had issues myself with thoughts of suicide," said Emmel, a 23-year veteran with the Army and Special Forces.

Emmel said he started 22 Warriors after he contemplated suicide. He wanted to create a nonprofit that could provide immediate help to veterans who need help.

He said he understands what it means to be alone during the holidays as a veteran.

"We were deployed during the holidays. Whether it be losing someone overseas in combat or losing someone here, it's one of those things that brings up memories,” said Emmel. “It could also be that when veterans come back, they're disconnected from their family and they're alone."

He said help is just a phone call away.

"Don't give up. Because there's a whole community of veterans here that are willing to stand behind you," said Emmel.

For veterans in need of assistance, call 22 Warriors at (702) 906-2073. To reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, call 1 (800) 273-8255.

Copyright 2019 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved

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