On Sept. 7 and 8, the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Albuquerque hosted its second annual New Mexico Veterans S.A.V.E. Motorcycle Ride to help promote suicide prevention awareness throughout New Mexico. The ride consisted of a northern route and a southern route.

“With this ride open to the public, we hope to increase awareness that suicide can be prevented, and services are available to veterans across New Mexico,” said social worker and ride coordinator Christina Camacho in a VA press release.

Approximately 50 motorcyclists participated in the northern route, stopping in Tijeras, Española and Taos, and overnighting in Angel Fire. On Sunday morning, they participated in a remembrance ceremony at the Angel Fire Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.

Motorcyclists also participated in the southern route which began at the American Legion Post 10 in Las Cruces and ended at the Las Cruces Veterans Memorial Park.

At each of the stops, VA employees and local volunteers provided suicide prevention and awareness training, using the “S.A.V.E.” acronym as talking points: S = (look for) signs, A = ask (if they are thinking of killing themselves), V = validate (their feelings), E = encourage treatment and expedite care.

The S.A.V.E ride is part of the Department of Veterans Affairs campaign of #BeThere and serves as a reminder that everyone has a role to play in preventing veteran suicide.

Leota Harriman
Leota Harriman

Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at news.ind.editor@gmail.com.