Every day an average of 22 veterans commit suicide.
Project Sanctuary, an organization that provides one-week retreats for soldiers and their families, is working to address that grim statistic, helping veterans, families of active soldiers, and GIs themselves who are injured on the inside and outside.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2007 and 2011, Evergreen was home to 788 veterans — and that's not counting active-duty military.
Julie Ballard's son, Aaron Malone, 35, has been in the military since he was 18, and is now on his fifth tour of the Middle East in special operations with the Navy. That's why Ballard and the Women of Evergreen Business are holding a fund-raiser Saturday to send soldiers to Project Sanctuary retreats.
"(The fund-raiser includes delicious foods, cash bar and probably one of the best silent auctions you've seen in a long time," said Ballard, "and we'll have internationally renowned pianist Peter Simon playing all evening."
There will be three speakers: Dr. Susan Brace, a clinical psychologist that works with veterans and is an expert on the subject; veteran Mike Lynch, who has attended Project Sanctuary; and Heather Ehle, executive director of Project Sanctuary.
The event, Broad Stripes and Bright Stars, will begin at 6 p.m. at Mount Vernon Country Club. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at the Wild Bird Store, Mountain View Physical Therapy or by calling 303-995-9915.
Project Sanctuary is a therapeutic camp centered on veterans and their families that provides support and prepares GIs for the return to civilian life after a deployment.
"They don't just heal the soldier," Ballard explained. "They heal the entire family. They get the family so that they can go on, and the family can be anyone for the soldier, whoever his family might be."
Of the 1,000 active-duty soldiers and veterans who have completed the program, there have been no suicides, and 90 percent of couples are still together, according to Project Sanctuary.
"This organization is so incredible because the philosophy (behind it), I think, is that they heal on the land they fought for," she said. "It's in this beautiful land in Colorado, and it's just amazing. It's secluded, and that's just what they need when they come back.
"It heals the family," she said, "and ultimately makes America stronger."
How to help
Individuals and businesses can help send local veteran families to the retreat by helping to sponsor the Broad Stripes Bright Stars event. The levels of sponsorship are:
• Red Level: $100
• White Level: $100 to $250
• Blue Level: $250 to $500
• Gold Level: $500 to $1,000
• Platinum: $1,000 and above
To make a tax-deductible donation to Project Sanctuary, visit projectsanctuary.us and use the tax ID number "26-40596."
To learn more about Project Sanctuary, visit http://projectsanctuary.us.
To learn more about Women of Evergreen Business, visit