missing

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew D. Sarver/Released

Wisconsin seeks to become first state with veteran alert system

The veteran suicide rate is more than double the state and national suicide rates

Matt Saintsing
February 02, 2018 - 11:54 am
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Wisconsin is on its way to becoming the first state to create a “Green Alert” system to help law enforcement and loved ones locate missing, vulnerable veterans.

Modeled after Amber and Silver Alerts, for missing children and at-risk senior citizens, respectfully, Green Alerts in Wisconsin could serve as a national model with other states adopting similar systems.

First reported by The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the legislation passed unanimously in the Wisconsin state Senate, and is very likely to make its way into law in February.

“We’re hoping this goes national,” state Democratic Sen. LaTonya Johnson told the newspaper, who introduced the bill.

“Veterans give so much.” she said.

It all started when Gwen and Johnnie Adams reported their son, Corey, missing in March 2017. Corey, a 45-year-old Air Force veteran served in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War, and later in Afghanistan, had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress.

But, since he was an adult, law enforcement was limited in helpin the Adams’ find Corey. Unfortunately, Gwen Adams never saw her son again.

Corey’s body was eventually found on April 7, and the official death certificate listed the cause of death as drowning.

“I never want any other family to go through what we did,” Gwen told the Washington Post.

“This needs to happen across the country. There aren’t any laws on the books in our local communities which help look for veterans who are at risk, especially from the mental health standpoint.”

Wisconsin’s veteran suicide rate is more than double the state and national suicide rates. In 2014, out of 736 reported suicides in Wisconsin, 133 were veterans.

The initiative in Wisconsin is receiving bipartisan support as Republican state Rep. Joel Kleefisch co-sponsored the legislation.

"I will not be surprised if we see Green Alert in every state of the union in the next three to four years," Kleefisch said.