Veteran Suicide Prevention

Southeast North Carolina Veterans Parade Chairman and Founder Marc Biddison gives a check for $23,600 to Tony Vivaldi of Save A Vet Now.

SENC Veterans Parade
donates $23,600
to Save A Vet Now

The Southeast North Carolina Veterans Parade Committee on Dec. 13, 2023, presented Save A Vet Now founder Tony Vivaldi with a check for $23,600 to help prevent veteran suicides.

Vivaldi teared up when he saw the amount of the check, telling veterans parade committee members present that the check equaled “one year’s work” for Save A Vet Now.

Coastal Horizons told Vivaldi the work of Save A Vet Now had helped to save the lives of 44 veterans by providing 854 counseling sessions for suicidal veterans, including 365 sessions for a single veteran.

Vivaldi said the cost for one veteran to complete the suicide prevention program through Coastal Horizons was $5,000 three years ago, the latest year for which statistics were available.

He said to get even one suicidal veteran to seek help is very difficult, “like pulling teeth.”

“On behalf of those veterans, thanks,” Vivaldi said. “Thank you is just not enough,”

Vivaldi said none of the money will be used for so-called “quality-of-life” events. “We leave that – as important as it might be – to other organizations.”

“Our focus is on our local veterans’ mental health and wellness,” he said.

“As hard as you work for what you do for our community with this parade, you want to know that that work is going toward something meaningful,” he said. “Well I think I just told you that it is.”

Also, none of the donation will be used to pay salaries or for overhead or operating expenses, Vivaldi said..

Marc Biddison, founder and chairman of the Southeast North Carolina Veterans Parade, said the parade was started in 2017 as a way to say thank you to veterans.

“This year we expanded that and took on the cause of veteran suicide awareness and prevention,” Biddison said. “We teamed up with Save A Vet Now and were able to raise a significant amount of money that we were able to donate to them. We’re very happy that we did it. It’s a very important program and saving veterans fits right in with what we want to do.”

Marc Biddison, founder and chairman of the Southeast North Carolina Veterans Parade, talks about the parades partnership with Save A Vet Now.

Tony Vivaldi talks about the mission of Save A Vet Now.