Mission Possible — Veterans and Their Allies Join Forces to Reduce Veteran Suicide — The VA Pitches in $20 million

Jerry Ashton
2 min readSep 20, 2022

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To the sorrow of — but applause from — fellow competitors in a $20 million VA campaign to search out viable solutions to reduce veteran suicide, the first phase is complete and forty contestants out of 1,371 entrants have been chosen to compete for the brass (make that golden) ring.

My organization, Let’s Rethink This, was one of the 1,331 organizations and individuals who did not manage to make the cut. The “sorrowful” part applies only in that we and our fellow competitors are not among these finalists. The applause is sincere — every entrant shares in the goal of effectively reducing veteran suicide from18 per day (per day!) and will support any and every individual or organization that can reduce that.

A fair question to ask: Is it possible that one or more of us who did not reach finalist level might actually have a better answer, or can offer an important piece to that puzzle? In the 10-page Concept Paper the VA required for submission, did we use the wrong font or formatting? Did we place our answer too far to the back, or not supply enough support detail? Was our paper a victim of bad prose over great content?

Whatever the case, does this mean that 1,341 people or organizations now asked to leave the field and head for the bleachers will now fold their flags and call it a day? That doesn’t occur to the military mind. Certainly not for the majority of these competitors.

A second chance to make a first impression

True to my roots as a Navy Journalist (here’s my earlier article on Mission Daybreak) and to my organization’s mission to search out, spotlight and ignite the fortunes of people who somehow have missed the attention their work deserves, we decided to invite the more passionate members of Mission Daybreak’s “Solver Community” to join with us in creating a second front in this battle for awareness and financing.

This campaign will take place over the final quarter of the year — October, November and December.

What to call ourselves? Mission Possible is the working name. Possibly, Mission Daybreak Take Two!? Will we institute another “judging” process, or something more innovative and out-of-the-box? Will people who missed the original VA entry deadline be welcomed into the fold?

LRT and its partners will reveal those answers and full campaign details at our MediaIgnite.org website to formally launch on Saturday, October 1. Sound like a fit for you? For more details, write info@LetsRethinkThis.com.

(Acknowledging the larger picture — this is National Suicide Awareness Month. Be there for the person at risk of self-harm, civilian or military).

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Jerry Ashton

Navy Journalist veteran, co-founder and founder of the charities RIP Medical Debt and End Veteran Debt — co-creator of Let's Rethink This and "Impact Awareness"