New Hampshire Legionnaire Myron Crossley served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1988 to 1992. Since then, he’s watched too many of his fellow veterans die by their own hands. That’s why The American Legion’s Be the One program to end veteran suicide resonates so strongly with Crossley – and why he chose to give a presentation to the New Hampshire American Legion Family’s recent Mid-Winter Conference.
The commander of Post 47 in Rollinsford and the District 3 senior vice commander said it’s crucial to the Legion’s national Be the One efforts that the proper training and materials are made available at every level of the organization.
“I thought it was important that I get involved in cutting veteran suicide down … and set an example to Legion leadership at the post level, the district level and the department level,” he said. “If you don’t give them the tools and the resources to try to make a difference, then how can we ask them to make a difference?”
Crossley said last year he was asked by Department Commander Leo Paquin to reinvigorate the state’s Legion College program, which Crossley said had fallen to the wayside during the pandemic. That gave Crossley the opportunity to attend the National American Legion College in November. After attending and returning home, Crossley was asked to provide a training session for the department’s Mid-Winter Conference Jan. 27 in Rochester.
He chose Be the One, a program he’s also asked to make his specialty as an instructor at the department’s Legion College, because of personal connections. “It’s a vitally important program to me,” he said. “I’ve lost a number of friends to veteran suicide over the past 30 years, but more importantly, in the past year I’ve lost a number of very close associates and friends to veteran suicide.”
Crossley provided a slideshow that he said consisted of links to resources and mechanisms to combat veteran suicide while promoting Be the One “for senior leadership, as well as the general membership, within The American Legion.”
Crossley has been endorsed for and is running for New Hampshire vice commander for 2024-2025. He said he began seeking more responsibility with the Legion after the organization started Be the One in 2022.
“It actually reinvigorated my interest in becoming an integral part of The American Legion,” he said. “The face and the climate of the Legion is changing. We’re trying to attract a younger veteran-based community to try to offset attrition through age. And I think the younger generation of veterans is struggling with veteran suicides more prominently, maybe, than older veterans. I say that, but I think it’s always been an issue, but now it’s getting some recognition publicly that it’s ok to not be ok.
“I think that’s why it’s so important: If I can make a difference in one other person’s life, I’ve succeeded. I can’t save them all, and I know that, but I can try to make a difference in one person's life.”