Dozens of veterans gathered in Waterford Saturday afternoon for what they’re calling a “lunch with heroes.”

It’s an event that’s bringing veterans together to address a serious topic. Chelsea Swift has the story.

Local veterans gathered Saturday for a free event called “Breaking Bread with Heroes” at the Fort LeBoeuf American Legion in Waterford.

One representative from the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs explained the work of the Robert Irvine Foundation and the University of Pittsburgh.

“It’s all about us getting into the community where our veterans live to spread the word, increase awareness, reduce stigma around suicide and suicide prevention,” said Richard Hamp.

Hamp said veterans can sometimes feel isolated. 

“They don’t want to come out and tell you they need some help, so we have to ask. Again, if you start a conversation, you’ll start to learn about that person, a lot of history. Look around this room, there are Vietnam era veterans here, Korea veterans here,” said Hamp.

Don Bauer said it’s great to connect with other veterans, he said it’s also a learning opportunity.

“Today has been a day of comradery and very, very good food,” said Don Bauer, veteran. “It’s just nice to see that their coming together with this awareness with suicide. I’m here to learn about it.”

One organizer said he’s seen the positive impact these events have on veterans. He said it allows them to get to know each other and bond. 

“These kinds of events, they bring people together. When you have people with similar experiences in the same room, that’s when they’re really able to open up. Some of those issues get really spot lighted and they’re able to work through those adversities. So I think there’s nothing better than having some food together,” said David Reid, VP, director of military, veteran, and first responder outreach.