WEBB CITY, Mo. — Even after they leave the service, the battlefield often times doesn’t leave the soldier. Sadly, one of the Four States leads the entire country in veteran suicide.

According to data compiled by the V.A., 188 veterans in Missouri took their lives during 2019, leading all other states in that tragic statistic.

“Very, we’re, very goal oriented you know we’re looking to accomplish something, we’re looking to be part of something, the easiest way to do that is to set as many goals, little goals as possible,” said Jimmy Burgess, U.S. Army Veteran.

Charlie 22 Outdoors – A program for veterans that provides outdoor activities based out of Webb City

U.S. Army Veteran Jimmy Burgess says the quicker a man or women who’s served their country gets involved with other local veterans, and finds a new purpose in life, the better. And he says the area is blessed to have several groups that provide activities for veterans to do along side other veterans that have also been there and done that.

“So many different organizations that do different things, so if you’re into fishing and hunting, there’s certain groups you can get with for that. If you’re into playing music, there’s certain groups for that so just like anything else on the civilian side, you just kind of find what you like, and you know like attracts like,” Burgess said.

“Any time a veteran is facing these demons, don’t go it alone. Reach out to organizations like ours or other veterans to work through it together,” said Scott Hettinger, Executive Director, Charlie 22 Outdoors.

One of a host of Joplin area not-for-profits with the goal of reducing veteran suicide is Charlie 22 Outdoors. It’s a faith based organization that pairs veterans who’ve recently left the service, with those that has already been through that transition.

“We’re not going to cure PTSD, we know that, but learning how to face the demons from PTSD is the key and whether that’s talking with somebody, being a blend with somebody where your hunting, next to the river fishing, sitting someplace, watching Nascar, but there’s ways of handling and facing PTSD and we’re trying to show that,” said Hettinger.

Other veteran advocate groups include Peterson Outdoor Ministries and Compass Quest.