Rally4Vets Drives 3,353.3 Miles for Veteran Suicide Prevention
August 16, 2023 at 22:27
The Rally4Vets staff are driving two of their race cars from Los Angeles to Arlington National Cemetery beginning August 19th, 2023, in support of the American Legion's "Be The One" veteran suicide prevention program.
The "Be the One" campaign focuses on eliminating the stigma associated with veterans talking about PTSD and suicide. Rally4Vets founder Robert Hess, an Army combat veteran, life American Legion member, and PTSD survivor, will lead the rally.
The rally departs from American Legion Post 291 in Newport Beach at 10 am August 19, 2023, with the first stop at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside California and finishing Day 1 at American Legion Post 519 in Palm Springs, California.
Between 17 and 22 veterans or servicemembers take their lives each day. That’s more than 6,000 annually and the rate of suicide for veterans is more than 50% higher than that of non-veteran adults. As the Global War on Terrorism continues, there will be more veterans facing mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Be the One campaign goals are: 1) Destigmatize asking for mental health support, 2) provide peer-to-peer support and resources in local communities, and 3) deploy FDA-approved therapeutics for veterans to identify issues and find resources for support.
In 2022, American Legion National Commander, Vincent J. “Jim” Troiola, challenged all American Legion members to find a way to "Be The One" to help reduce veteran suicide.
"The 2023 Rally4Vets 'Be The One'rally from Los Angeles to Washington, DC, is my answer to that call," said Robert Hess, Rally4Vets Founder, combat veteran, and PTSD survivor. "We were planning to ship the cars to Virginia for our annual Top Dog Championships at Summit Point Raceway but the idea of driving them across the US and bringing attention to the American Legion's campaign was just too tempting to pass up.
"The Rally4Vets team is very excited to be part of this event and the opportunity to visit American Legion posts along the way. We plan to end the rally on September 1st, Day One of 2023 National Suicide Prevention Month, with a veteran gathering at Arlington National Cemetery.
"And to add to the fun," said Hess, "we're going for an American record for the longest road rally in genuine race car seats. Our Miata has Recaro seats and the C6 Corvette has Sparco EVO seats donated by OG Racing." "We have no idea how we're going to feel at the end of 3,353.3 miles in these seats!"
Veterans, active duty military, and community members wishing to support America's veteran community are welcome to join the Rally4Vets Team at one of its stops or even drive a segment with the team. The Rally climbs Pikes Peak on August 23rd.
The full rally route and stops are available on the Rally4Vets website: https://www.rally4vets.com/rally4vetsbetheonedrive.
Key stops are: Palm Springs, CA; Scottsdale, AZ; Gallup, NM; Montrose, CO; Colorado Springs, CO; Dodge City, KS; Joplin, MO; Memphis, TN; Bowling Green, KY; Charlotte, NC; and Purcellville, VA.
The team will be carrying a SPOT GPS tracker and those interested can follow the team live on the Internet at https://maps.findmespot.com/s/P3WY beginning at 09:00 19 August, 2023.
Rally4Vets is a program supporting the Disabled Veteran Empowerment Network (DVEN - https://dven.org/ ) The Rally4Vets program creates motorsports events to increase awareness of veteran issues and generate funds to support important veteran programs. Rally4Vets program information and sponsorship opportunities are available at www.rally4vets.com. Program events include trackcross (autocross on a racetrack), road rallies, and car meetups.
DVEN has a Two-fold Mission:1) To connect disabled veterans, their caregivers, and supporters with benefits provided by the Veterans Administration and other vetted charities, and 2) To play a meaningful role in reducing the suicide toll of America’s veterans.
Those interested can contact Robert W. Hess at info2dven.org.
For more information about Rally4Vets, contact the company here:
840 Apollo Street
El Segundo, CA 90264