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Three important issues recognized with monthly dedications

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Back in June 1968, California Congressman George E. Brown first introduced the idea of a commemorative week to celebrate and recognize the important contributions to American society from those with Hispanic roots.

Months later, Congress would pass Public Law 90-48 authorizing and requesting the president to recognize Hispanic Heritage Week yearly, something which President Lyndon B. Johnson did with a presidential proclamation.

Twenty years later, in 1988, President Ronald Reagan prolonged the yearly celebration to a monthly one, known as National Hispanic Heritage Month.

On Sept 14, full board approval was given to Commissioner Antonio Pinedas’ resolution that Lehigh County Commissioners recognize and honor National Hispanic Heritage Month in the Lehigh Valley Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

As Pineda told his fellow commissioners, 28% of the Lehigh Valley has Hispanic roots. He made the point of how important it is to recognize and celebrate the contributions these individuals have made right here in our community.

Suicide Awareness

Forty-seven lives have been lost so far from suicide in 2022, according to Lehigh County Coroner Daniel A. Buglio. That number doesn’t even come close to representing family members, friends and others whose lives were touched by the deceased. Buglio also made the point his office actively works to help those suffering from the loss of a loved one from suicide. “It’s heartbreaking” he told the commissioners.

The numbers for Pennsylvania are eye-opening with data showing one person dies by suicide every four hours.

As part of the county’s resolution recognizing September as Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month, Lehigh County Commissioners invited Buglio to speak at the Sept. 14 meeting. This led to a discussion among commissioners on the importance of focusing on mental health and letting individuals who are in need of help know how important it is to seek it.

Commissioner Geoff Brace said a collective effort must be made to raise awareness on this important issue. He added we must all treat mental health with the same importance as physical health.

Commissioner Bob Elbich reminded everyone suicide rates among first responders is higher than the average and that most of these individuals are volunteers. Commissioner Jeffrey Dutt added there is also a high suicide rate among veterans who need help.

Residents are reminded “988” is the new National Suicide Prevention Hotline for anyone needing help and facing some type of distress.

Operation Green Light for Veterans in the Lehigh Valley

Operation Green Light for Veterans in Lehigh County will take place Oct. 1 through Nov. 11. This is a yearly tradition to honor and recognize the sacrifices made by those who made immeasurable sacrifices to preserve our freedom.

Commissioners spoke at length on the importance of being there and supporting our country’s veterans as they transition from active duty to civilian life. Commissioner Zach Cole-Borghi said, “We should support all veterans. It is a failure when one falls through the cracks.”

Dutt reminded everyone on the importance of saying “thank you” to our veterans.

Lehigh County encourages citizens and business to light a green light in their window Nov. 7-13.