March 08, 2019

Senator Hassan Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Establish Green Alert System For Missing At-Risk Veterans

WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) this week introduced the bipartisan Green Alert Act to help states establish a system to locate at-risk veterans when they go missing so that they can receive appropriate care, similar to the AMBER Alert system for children or Silver Alert system for older Americans.

The Green Alert Act of 2019 would establish a federal commission to develop best practices and provide technical assistance to states to implement Green Alert systems that would be used to alert law enforcement and the public in the event of a veteran’s disappearance. 

See below for coverage highlights:

WMUR (VIDEO): Hassan launches effort to establish Green Alert system to help at-risk veterans

green alwerts

By Adam Sexton

MANCHESTER, N.H. —U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., is introducing bipartisan legislation to help states create Green Alert systems that can be activated when a veteran at risk of suicide disappears.

Wisconsin was the first state to implement such a system, and Hassan, who said she was inspired by some high-ranking New Hampshire veterans, wants to help expand the concept nationwide.

As a brigadier general in the U.S. Army, Donald Bolduc spent his career serving his country. In retirement, he said he lives to honor the soldiers he lost, some of whom suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Three of the dog tags in there are suicides," Bolduc said, referring to a memorial he keeps to the 72 service members he lost under his command.

To battle back against a grim trend of veterans taking their own lives, Bolduc is calling for a nationwide Green Alert system.

"(It works like) an Amber Alert for children or a Silver Alert for seniors," Hassan said.

Hassan's legislation would create a commission to help states implement Green Alert systems.

"To really look at how some states are already developing Green Alert systems and then share those best practices," she said.

The bill has the backing of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. Representatives from both groups met Wednesday with Hassan to discuss the effort.

Bolduc said a Green Alert system will provide a much-needed safety net beneath ongoing efforts to address military mental health.

"(It will) destigmatize this and get our veterans comfortable with coming forward and getting the care that they need," he said.

Hassan is teaming up on the bill with U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who is a veteran of the war in Iraq.

Stars and Stripes: Senators push for nationwide Green Alert system for missing veterans

By Nikki Wentling

WASHINGTON – Two senators introduced legislation Thursday that would create a Green Alert public notification system to find veterans when they go missing.

Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, sponsored The Green Alert Act of 2019. They said the system would be similar to the Amber Alert system for missing children or the Silver Alert system to locate senior citizens, especially ones with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

[…] Retired Army Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, the former commander of Special Operations Command-Africa, has led efforts to take the Green Alert system nationwide. He resides in New Hampshire and inspired Hassan to take up the issue.

“For a variety of reasons, far too many veterans go missing for long stretches of time before someone finds them,” Bolduc said.

He believes the system would help “better locate veterans and give them the appropriate care they need when they disappear.

The Green Alert Act would create a commission comprising representatives from the departments of Justice, Transportation, Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, as well as state and local officials. The commission would be tasked with developing best practices and technical assistance to help states develop the system.

Nashua Telegraph: Hassan, Ernst propose bill to help veterans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, on Thursday introduced bipartisan legislation to help states implement “Green Alert” systems to locate veterans when they go missing so that they can receive appropriate care, similar to the AMBER Alert system for children or Silver Alert system for older Americans.

[…] “Far too many of our brave veterans experience mental and emotional trauma as a result of their service, and as we work to build a country that is ever-worthy of their service, we must ensure that they have the support and resources they need to thrive in civilian life,” Hassan said. “The Green Alert Act would provide federal assistance to help states implement Green Alert systems to locate and assist missing veterans. This is a common-sense step we can take now to ensure that we can be there for our veterans who have so valiantly served to defend our freedoms.” […]