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PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Peer to Peer Program

Local organizations are coming together to raise awareness about the community–wide suicide problem.  The PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Peer to Peer Program, The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention, Chautauqua Tapestry, Veterans of Modern Warfare Chapter 20, and Brothers by Choice along with other community organizations have come together and are looking to raise money for The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention and The Veterans Endowment Fund. On September 29, 2018, they will hold their inaugural Suicide Prevention Run. The event will take place at Harley Davidson of Jamestown in Falconer, with registration starting at 8:30 a.m. and kick stands up at 10:15 a.m.  The beautiful route to Kinzua has been planned by Brothers by Choice to show you the fall beauty of the area and will run rain or shine. This run encourages vehicles on four wheels to attend as well. Everyone has someone in their lives that has been affected by the tragedy of suicide or knows someone that has and this gives everyone an opportunity to come together and show support for those that need it.    

The PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran’s Peer to Peer Program is a non-clinical program that brings veterans together through activities for peer support. The program came about when PFC Dwyer returned home from Iraq with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Unfortunately, his life ended due to the choices he made to cope with those issues.  The program’s goal is to offer opportunities for veterans to meet other veterans living in similar situations through social activities provided at no cost to the veteran. The peer support has proven to be successful and there are many options available to meet individual interests of the veterans. Cindy Reidy, Dwyer Program Coordinator stated, “The program utilizes peer support from those who can relate to the struggles of transitioning into civilian life.  We are thrilled to have these wonderful partnerships with The Community Alliance, Chautauqua Tapestry, Veterans of Modern Warfare, Brothers by Choice and several others.  We all have common goals and values and together, the number of veterans that we can reach is innumerable.

Victoria Patti, Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention Coordinator, stated “The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention recognizes the importance of reaching out to our local Veterans and is happy to be included in the planning of this important awareness event.  We know that 22 veterans die by suicide every day that that is 22 too many.” The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention recognizes that suicide is a community wide problem.  The Alliance is dedicated to protecting and promoting life by fostering shared responsibility through raising awareness and community support while embracing hopefulness and resiliency in the Chautauqua County region.  Patti added, “We hope that our involvement in this event can help spread the word that help is available right here in Chautauqua County and not one veteran or any other community member has to be alone.  The Alliance feels so honored to have met the passionate members who are on the planning committee and those that are involved in the Dwyer program. It is amazing what you can do with a team who is so giving and wanting to help others.”

Among the planning committee is Annie Rosenthal, Public Relations Coordinator Chautauqua Tapestry.  She stated, “It has been a great experience working with local veterans organizations, community members and other partners to plan this PFC Dwyer Motorcycle Run. The event is a great opportunity to bring attention to suicide prevention efforts happening right here in Chautauqua County.  It is also a great opportunity to raise funds for the Veterans Endowment fund and the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention.”

Harley Davidson of Jamestown on Rte. 394 in Falconer has donated the space for the event to take place.  Live music, basket raffle, and 50/50s will take place along with a Chicken BBQ provided by the Veterans of Modern Warfare Chapter 20 INC. Dinners will be available to the public at $10 each with a beverage or $9 without starting at 12:00 p.m.  When asked about involvement in the fundraiser, Joe Paladino, VMW CH 20 INC President stated, “As a veteran’s organization, we like to help our local veterans feel welcomed home, but we also give them the opportunity to help each other through brother/sisterhood and their community around them. Most veterans that you speak to will say that even though their time in the service is done, their service is never really done.” Adding, “The VMW CH 20 opens doors for our veterans to become more involved in helping other veterans and their community.  Our VMW fundraisers are here to do just what this Dwyer Run is all about, raise funds and raise awareness! Losing 22 veterans a day is an outrageous loss. We need to let both veterans and community members alike know that there is help available right here and that there are people that care and want to help. We are honored to be part of this fundraiser and community awareness event. 

The committee is looking forward to a great turnout to raise funds and awareness for suicide prevention.  If you would like to be involved as a volunteer or would like to donate a basket for the basket raffle, please contact Cindy Reidy, Dwyer Coordinator, at (716) 661–8447 or Melodie Paladino at (716) 450–6768.  For additional MC Run information, you can search under the events tab at:  www.facebook.com/DwyerChautauqua, www.facebook.com/thecommunityallianceforsuicideprevention, www.facebook.com/VMWCH20INC, or www.cyberspokes.com/events.htm.