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Fire Watch donates funds to veteran organizations on the First Coast

The Fire Watch organization works to prevent veteran suicide on the First Coast. Here's information about the organizations it supports.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — (The video above is from a previous story)

Northeast Florida Fire Watch Council has awarded almost $100,000 in grants to nine organizations serving veterans in crisis across Northeast Florida

The Fire Watch organization works to prevent veteran suicide on the First Coast. It's grant program was developed under the supervision of the City of Jacksonville’s Office of Grants and Contracts Compliance Department.

The nine organizations receiving grant funds include:

  • Northeast Florida Women Veterans

Northeast Florida Women Veterans, Inc. is focused on ensuring women who have served on active duty, National Guard or Reserves and their children, transition into the civilian community with the tools they need to become self-sufficient. It operates a resource center to provide supportive and career services to women veterans. Click here for more info

  • Operation Barnabas

Operation Barnabas helps veterans/first responders struggling with PTSD, addiction, family and marital issues and work through “levels of care”. This is based in the Orange Park area. Click here for more info.

  • Veterans Council of Nassau County

This is a nonprofit hoping to help the veterans of Nassau County. The Domestic Non Profit company is located at 76347 Veterans Way in Yulee.

  • Five STAR Veterans Center

Five Star Veterans Center is a nonprofit founded in March 2012 to assist veterans in need. We have a specific focus on veterans aged 22 - 55 suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Depression, Anxiety and other related mental health issues. The common goal for each veteran is re-integration into society. More info here.

RELATED: First Coast program helping veterans

  • St. Johns County Veterans Council 

The objective of the Veterans Council of St. Johns County, Florida is to be of assistance to all veterans who have served in any of the military branches of service of the United States of America.This website is designed to serve our veterans and shall act as a communications center for this Council. The Council is proud of our past successes and we look forward to many more in the months and years to come. More info here.

  • Operation New Uniform

Operation New Uniform (ONU), founded in 2014, treats each veteran as an individual, serving as many veterans as possible without reducing quality, and meticulously tracking the results and successes of veterans and programs. ONU defies the traditional veteran nonprofit mantra of overextending resources that commonly leads to poor outcomes. It's mission is to train veterans and their families for fulfilling careers and develop their skills as they grow within an organization. More here.

  • Hope Therapy

A non-profit connected to equine assisted activities and therapy programs located in Middleburg, Florida. Its mission is to improve the quality of life of children and adults with various diagnoses with the help of horses. More here.

  • Community Hope Outreach

Provides free food, bus passes, rent assistance, and other emergency services to Davie residents in need. Clients can apply for food stamps and search for jobs. More here.

The rate of veteran suicide in our region from 2010 to 2019 was 31.6 (per 100,000 veterans), which was on par with national numbers. The rate of Northeast Florida civilians during the same period was half that, or 16.0, which is also consistent with national numbers. 

This means that U.S. and Northeast Florida veterans are losing their lives to suicide at a rate nearly twice that of their civilian counterparts.

The Northeast Florida Fire Watch Council was created in 2019 to end this tragedy. 

“The Fire Watch has two primary objectives,” says Executive Director, Nick Howland. “The first is to build a life-saving network of Northeast Florida community members trained to identify the warning signs of veterans in crisis and to direct those veterans to the resources they need. The second is to ensure those resources are best-in-class. Our Grant Program is designed to do just that – improve support and crisis care resources for Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns county veterans and their families.”

 You can learn more by visiting: Who We Are and What We Do