It’s Sunday evening. Angela and her neighbor strike up a conversation as their dogs play at their feet. It’s a regular rendezvous — they talk nearly every day.
But something is different this time.
“She looked to have the entire weight of the world on her shoulders,” Angela, a senior community investment analyst at CSX, recalled.
Just days before, Angela participated in a suicide prevention training at work. Little did she know that training would be called into service so quickly.
“I took a deep breath and told myself, ‘I got this,’” Angela said.
She responded and connected her neighbor to valuable resources she learned about just days before in the training, which involved Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), CSX®, and the CSX Pride in Service™ partners.
Suicide affects countless lives daily. According to the Veterans Administration, 17 veterans die by suicide every day.
Paul Cucinotta served 27 years in the Marine Corps and is now the chief operating officer for Operation Gratitude — a national nonprofit that supports the military, veteran, and first responder communities and is a CSX Pride in Service™ partner. He’s known veterans who have died by suicide and recognizes the vital importance of prevention training.
“The scenarios in the training were relevant to the challenges servicemen and women face, and they represent circumstances I’m, unfortunately, as familiar with today as I was during my time in uniform,” Paul said.
Suicide affects railroaders as well. According to Operation Lifesaver, more than 200 people died on train tracks in 2020. CSX employs its own police force of special agents who act as first responders to these situations. The traumatic scenes they experience can be a risk for the agent’s own social, emotional, and mental health.
Nicole Ferry, a special agent in charge for the CSX Police Department and an Army National Guard veteran, knows all too well the impact suicide can have.
“As a law enforcement professional with almost 25 years of experience, I’ve seen suicide from multiple angles,” Nicole said. “As a veteran, as a first responder, as a friend, as a family member, as a human.”
A couple years ago, it almost claimed the life of someone she cared about most.
“When my son was in high school, I intercepted a text message written to his girlfriend that said, ‘I will kill myself,’” Nicole said.
Fortunately, he was able to receive critical help and support thanks to family members identifying these signs. But it was another reminder to Nicole about the importance of educating herself and others about suicide prevention, just like in the training she, Angela, and Paul completed.
“I want all my officers to take this training so they can be aware of the signs that there is a problem and help get the proper help and resources to those people that need it,” Nicole said.
The training was the latest collaboration between WWP and CSX in an effort to destigmatize mental health issues.
“Mental health care is a major priority for Wounded Warrior Project and the warriors it serves,” said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington. “The veteran suicide statistics are constant reminders we need to do more to educate ourselves and our supporters on the importance of suicide prevention. CSX has been a powerful partner in helping us accomplish this objective.”
“We know that it is more important than ever to provide suicide prevention training, help remove stigmas around mental health, and promote social and emotional well-being overall,” said Bryan Tucker, CSX vice president of Corporate Communications. “Based on our work to date with Wounded Warrior Project through Pride in Service, we also understand that those in the military and first responder communities are at an even greater risk than the rest of the population for certain challenges associated with mental health. Therefore, we are incredibly grateful to Wounded Warrior Project for the lifesaving work they do every day, and for offering CSX such impactful opportunities to tap into best-in-class tools and resources.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255.
If you’re a veteran and would like to learn more about free mental health programs Wounded Warrior Project offers, please contact our Resource Center at 888.997.2586.
Contact: Chris Obarski — Public Relations, email@example.com, 904.570.0823
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.