When published suicide statistics reached 22 veterans a day, Frank Spady said “Enough!” A decorated Vietnam combat Airborne ranger, Spady realized that vets in crisis couldn’t wait for the VA or Congress to fix the system to address their needs. The problem didn’t need more discussion, it needed action and that’s something Spady knows about.
A series of conversations with NVF President and Founder Shad Meshad led to Spady joining the NVF Board in the spring of 2014. Since then, Frank has harnessed his sheer drive and his sharp business acumen to engage corporate support to stop the shocking rate of veteran suicide.
He already had a full plate—running his own businesses, sitting on a number of boards, involved with non-profits in his own community. Spady’s dedication to fellow vets illustrates the close bonds that are forged between soldiers in combat. The phrase “no man left behind” is taken seriously, and extends far beyond the battlefield. In his case, over forty years beyond.
Forty years. That’s a long time. Passion is like that. In certain special people, it just doesn’t burn out. You have to tip your hat to men like Frank Spady. Their war experience marked them just as the two most recent and long-running wars have marked younger vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. It seems like they’d be eager to set down their combat gear and live their lives in peace and relative comfort, enjoying the success they’ve earned. Thank goodness for vets like Spady who continue to work for veterans’ welfare by bringing their energy to help fellow vets get the care and resources they need.
At the NVF we’ve known a few of these heroes and we could use a few more Frank Spady’s. If you are a vet or a business looking for a way to help vets, or if you know a vet who needs help, please call the NVF at 888.777.4443.