Spokane veterans weigh in on suicide hotline bill

Spokane veterans weigh in on suicide hotline bill

SPOKANE, Wash. - There is a bill stalled in Congress that is supposed to deal with the veterans crisis phone line. While local veterans can't do much about that, they are doing what they can to help each other.

Just off College Avenue, there's a different kind of service for veterans.

It's a place where they can work with their hands, learn new skills and meet other veterans.

"We're trying to do the best we can to help people with all their situations because nothing is too bad," said Eugene Everett an army veteran who manages the wood shop.

"It's just a building, family, brotherhood, sisterhood," said Martin DiMuzio, army vet and computer systems manager at the garage.

The garage is run by donations and community support and its changing lives.

"I didn't see it, but as the days go by it's coming together," said Everett, "A person can feel good about themselves if they accomplish something."

Services like this help but veterans say there is a need for the most important service, a problem free suicide hotline.

The VA's veterans crisis line is falling short when veterans need help the most.

"I called the hotline and they were even having trouble redirecting help," said DiMuzio.

Reports of more than 30 percent of veterans' calls and texts going unanswered spurred action.

A bill to make changes to the crisis line passed through the house unanimously, stalling in the senate.

"If we're so worried about our veterans coming home, whether it was 50 years ago or yesterday, we should be there for them in anyway possible. No questions asked," said DiMuzio.

Veterans are still hopeful the bill will pass. In the meantime, services like Vets Garage will do everything possible to help our veterans.