Breaking News
More () »

Saturday marks Veteran and Military Suicide Awareness Day in Knox County

According to a 2022 report, around 17 veterans died by suicide every day.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Saturday will mark Veteran and Military Suicide Awareness Day in Knox County. It falls on the third Saturday in September — National Suicide Prevention Month.

According to a 2022 report from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, around 17 veterans die by suicide on average every day.

"There's too many. And we have a program called, 'Be the One.' So, we try to be that one guy or one person, one lady, that helped stop a suicide or have somebody help prevent it," said Michael Testerman, a commander at the American Legion Post 2. "We do need help on active duty. And in the service, you have a battle buddy. You have somebody you can go to or talk to a lot of times, and they'll help you out. Sometimes that still doesn't help. You need that additional help."

The third annual Ride to Remember will also be held in Knoxville, meant to honor servicemembers who took their own lives. It starts at a Harley Davidson store and ends at around 2 p.m. at the Bearden Beer Market. There will be a gallery wall for riders to hang photos on. Lunch will be provided at no cost to riders.

"All the riders will carry a photo of a veteran who has died by their own hand," said Theresa Botts, a co-founder of the Infinite Warrior Foundation.

Botts was personally affected by veteran suicide. She had her husband could have been a servicemember who took their own life.

"We he came back from Iraq, he came back different. He came injured, he came back needing help. And we didn't know how to get it," she said.

More than 100 riders and drivers took part in the Ride to Remember last year. A Harley Davidson store in Knoxville will host the event starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The store is located at 605 Lovell Rd.

Before You Leave, Check This Out