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May honors Mental Health Awareness, Military Appreciation

Okeechobee News - 5/16/2018

At their May 10 meeting, Okeechobee County commissioners declared May as Mental Health Awareness Month.

Mickey Hofmaier of Suncoast Mental Health Center said Suncoast serves 1,500 children in the four-county area.

He said there were eight suicides in Okeechobee County and 3,422 suicides in the state of Florida last year.

Okeechobee County was slightly over the state average per 1,000 people, he explained. "We have work to do," he said.

County Commission Chairman Terry Burroughs noted that in January, the county started a mental health court in an effort to keep mentally ill people out of jail and help them obtain the treatment and services they need. He said there are currently about 10 people in the mental health court program.

The county also proclaimed May as National Military Appreciation Month.

"A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to ?The United States of America,' for an amount up to and including their life," said Kevin Stripling, commander of VFW Post 10539, who accepted the proclamation.

According to the staff report, in 2004, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution proclaiming May as National Military Appreciation Month to ensure that the nation was given the opportunity to publicly demonstrate its appreciation for the sacrifices and successes made by our service members - past and present. Each year the president makes a proclamation reminding Americans of the important role the U.S. armed forces have played in the history and development of our country.

May was selected because it has the most days set aside for celebrating and commemorating our military's achievements for both those in and out of the military. For service members and veterans, it's a chance to pay tribute to supportive families and spouses, and honor the memory of those who have sacrificed for this nation on Memorial Day. For the general public, the entire month provides an opportunity to say thanks to all those, past and present, who have contributed to the U.S. military.


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