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Albany American Legion Post 10 is organizing an effort to create a suicide hotline specifically geared toward veterans and people serving in the armed forces. 

Vice Commander David Solomon came up with the idea and led an inaugural meeting Tuesday.

Solomon said Post 10 is just beginning the process and doesn't yet know what it will cost to set up the line or the logistics of how and when it will be staffed.

The idea, however, is to make round-the-clock telephone access available to anyone, but especially veterans, who might be thinking of taking his or her own life.

"We want to help whoever we can," he said.

Solomon said he performed a memorial service recently for a 23-year-old Army veteran who died by suicide, which got him thinking about ways Post 10 could help.

Tuesday's meeting brought in 14 people who expressed interest in being involved, including representatives from Vets Helping Vets HQ, the Linn-Benton Community College Veterans Club and a Corvallis resident who works with a military effort called Buddy Check.

The first order of business is to get proper training to certify everyone who wants to man a phone shift, Solomon said. Post 10 is also looking into the legal aspects of starting a phone line.

"We’re trying to look into everything and every way to make sure we do this the right way to help the community," he said. "I want to start it and set up right."

People who would like to help with the effort or provide donations to offset the cost of training or equipment are invited to contact Albany American Legion Post 10 at 541-926-0127 or click the donation link on the post's website, https://sites.google.com/a/albanypost10.org/main/home.

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