UTICA, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente announced on Thursday, June 1 that the county has launched a new program to help veterans at risk for suicide.

The program was funded by the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program, a program of the United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Oneida County received $750,000 of the three-year, $2.25 million dollar grant on Thursday, June 1, and have already applied for a second year of funding.

The program honors Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox, who joined the United States Army in 2014 and was a sniper instructor at Fort Benning, Georgia. Fox died by suicide in 2020 at the age of 25.

“Our veterans give everything they have to protect this great nation and its citizens,” Picente said. “It is our responsibility to make sure they are taken care of in return. Oneida County is pleased to partner with The Neighborhood Center and the Utica Center for Development to provide our veterans with this suicide prevention program and ensure that they all receive the help they need.”

As the grantee, Oneida County is responsible for coordinating services and awarded the Neighborhood Center and the Utica Center for Development to provide those services. Services provided by the county’s grant include outreach to identify those at risk, peer support, and Veteran’s Affairs benefit assistance.

“I am incredibly proud of everyone working so diligently to ensure this program’s success,” Ashlee Thompson, Oneida County Commissioner of Mental Health, said in a statement. “It is a much-needed resource that will help numerous people in our area. We are very grateful that we will be able to provide an array of suicide prevention resources to those who have served and are currently serving, as well as their family members. I want to thank our partners, The Neighborhood Center and The Utica Center for Development for their commitment to this program and County Executive Picente for his continued dedication to the veterans of this county.”

To qualify for the services, an individual must meet the program’s requirements, be at risk for suicide, and be a resident of Oneida County. For more information on the program, you are encouraged to visit the link below, or call 315-601-4662.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Dial 988 then Press 1, chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat, or text 838255.