CAPE CORAL, Fla., -- The American Military Veterans Foundation has been fighting to get lawmakers to pass a bill for the Camo Alert, a notification system letting the public know a veteran is in trouble. But due to low funding, the bill will be pushed off for at least another year.
"Anytime we have to wait a day, it’s detrimental. Cause’ we’re losing 23 a day," said David Souders, the founder of the American Military Veterans Foundation.
Souders says 23 veterans on average commit suicide nationwide. He says veterans considering suicide have a tendency to isolate themselves by disappearing.
“It’s not that they necessarily want to commit suicide, they just don’t want to burden their families anymore, so they’ll go missing.”
When they disappear, is when Souders says the Camo Alert comes in. The alert works similar to an Amber or Silver Alert, by sending out a notification to phones and on the highway to keep the community on the lookout.
But after a recent visit to Tallahassee to visit lawmakers, Souders and his team were told there wasn't enough funding left to pass the bill. He says much of the funding has gone to cover the cost of Hurricane Irma and the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“We’re not as important as other citizens," Souders said.
The foundation has been working for the last three years to get the bill passed, but every time has been turned away because lack of funding. Souders explained that 1.6 million Floridians are veterans and because of their training they are five times more likely to commit suicide.
"If it wasn’t for our veterans, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do every day, that’s the way I look at it," said Keith Campbell, a member of the foundation.
Campbell tells Fox 4, lawmakers say they need to see more veteran and public involvement in order to move forward. He says, with enough help, he expects the bill will be passed by next year.
Visit the American Military Veterans Foundation website to see how you can donate or volunteer at www.ammilvets.org.