Challenge Coins aim to prevent veteran suicide

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MENASHA, Wis. (WBAY) -- An organization in Kaukauna believes the gift of a challenge coin can make a difference.

That's why the Center for Suicide Awareness is challenging the community to give police officers the tool to help prevent veteran suicide.

"We've all become familiar with that Challenge 22," said Barb Bigalke, Executive Director for the Center of Suicide Awareness.

That's when you do 22 of something for veterans.

The movement started after Veteran Affairs estimated in 2012 that 22 veterans die by suicide every day.

Now, the Center for Suicide Awareness is taking part by creating challenge coins for veterans to be given out by police officers.

"So what better way than to put those coins into the person that's actually going to respond to that call, giving that veteran hope, giving that veteran a resource," said Bigalke.

The coin says "we fought for our freedom; we must fight for each other."

The other side says “tell me your story; listen to mine” with the Wisconsin’s text HOPELINE number 741-741.

Anyone can go to Center for Suicide Awareness website and dedicate 22 of the challenge coins to any police department in the state.

43 police departments in Wisconsin have the coins.

Menasha police accepted the challenge Tuesday.

"It's going to give them that sense of hope when they feel that weight of that coin,” Menasha Patrol Officer Chris Groeschel. “Saying okay the weight off my shoulders can be the weight of this coin and maybe by looking at that coin and going, ‘yep lets text somebody get the weight off my shoulders more’."

Groeschel has handed out the challenge a coins to veterans including to one that was in crisis.

"Never seen any tears like that before, he was happy to get it," said Groeschel.