- Coming Next Monday -
How a Veteran’s Mother Honors the Heroes Among Us
Six years ago, Virginia Cervasio decided to dedicate her life to helping veterans. The mother of a young vet who died by suicide, she learned that veterans have an unspoken bond that “no one could break—a mutual understanding and a trust that they are going to support one another and help each other out.” So, Virginia founded Heroes Among Us, a nonprofit whose mission is to help veterans and their families readjust to life after war. In today’s episode, Virginia recounts her journey that led to the creation of this inspiring organization, which supports many vets who are coping with emotional struggles and trying to find their footing when they return home. She’ll describe the wide-ranging work of the nonprofit, from helping veterans pay their bills to finding therapists and organizing school supplies drives for their families. Virginia will also discuss her continuing advocacy focusing on suicide prevention support and education. She’ll talk about her organization’s participation in various national events, such as the hosting of the traveling Vietnam Memorial, known as “The Wall That Heals,” which, along with an education center, moves from state to state each month. And Virginia will explain how people can get involved and contribute to Heroes Among Us, finding meaningful ways every day to thank our veterans for their service.
Virginia Cervasio graduated from SUNY Old Westbury University with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 1998. She is mother to the late A1C Angelo “Merlin” Cervasio, who died by suicide in January 2006, due to his battle with PTSD. In the past 17 years, she has worked diligently to bring suicide awareness and prevention to communities in SW Florida and NY. Since moving back to New York in 2014, Virginia has made it her mission to help veterans in need. Heroes Among Us, a nonprofit organization, is the result of her persistent effort to make sure that no veteran and their families are ever refused what is needed to help them live a healthy life. In August 2019, Heroes Among Us was chosen to host the Vietnam Wall Memorial display for four days. This event brought comfort and healing to many Vietnam veterans and their families. She recently was honored in receiving the “Distinguished Service to Veterans Award” by Nassau County. In 2016, Virginia received the Linda Nadle Community Service Award from Long Island Crisis Center for her dedication to our communities. Among her many accomplishments, she was honored as the recipient of the 2009 Leadership Award, from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, for advancing the cause of suicide prevention in the U.S. She was also the 2008 November recipient of the Readers Digest “Make It Matter” Program, 2010 “Professional of the Year Award” from Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition, and 2007 recipient “Extraordinary Women of Southwest Florida” from Renda Broadcasting Corporation. Virginia currently is employed by Northwell Health as an Associate Program Manager. She works with the Health Home division and assists care managers with their members. Her ongoing initiatives, passion, and dedication to serving the community landed her the nomination for Northwell’s President Award in 2018, becoming the finalist out of 6,000 candidates.
Heroes, suicide, veterans, Vietnam, PTSD