Tiberi to be honored at Saturday’s 22in22 Vet Fest

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Delaware 22in22 initiative will honor veteran advocate Dave Tiberi for supporting veteran causes with their annual “22in22 Award.”

Tiberi, a Delaware business owner, and former professional boxer will be honored at the organization’s outdoor event, Vet Fest, held at the Town of Whitehall on Saturday, September 25, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.  The award ceremony is at noon.  Also, at noon, the group will host a Welcome Home Ceremony for Vietnam Veterans.

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According to 22in22 co-founder Brian DiSabatino, “Dave Tiberi is special to us because he is one of the original inspirations for the 22in22 movement to stop veteran suicide. His personal story of triumph and his personal testimony regarding PTSD and the Vietnam War in his family are compelling.  He is a hero to us all.”

According to Vietnam vet reception organizer Rosely Robinson, “This kind of recognition is well overdue for our Vietnam Veterans.  And, considering the current anxiety over Afghanistan, the timing could not be more appropriate.”

Organizers say that the day starts with a 10K ruck (march) at 9:30, a parade at 10:30, a 5K at 11, and the Tiberi award, Vietnam Veteran reception, and music festival at noon.

Proceeds will go to efforts to bring the veteran and civilian communities together and to support the non-profit, StopSoldierSuicide.org.  In addition to Delaware, events are taking place around the country due to the Delaware initiative.

Previous honorees of the award have included retired General Francis Vavala for his support of suicide awareness through his tenure at the Delaware National Guard, Dr. Mark Brainard for launching the annual 22in22 program at Delaware Technical Community College, where he serves as its fifth president, veteran/businessman Steve Masterson for his support of veterans, Yolanda Borttof for her work at the USO and local veteran advocates John Stagliano and Rosely Robinson for their work with veterans.

22in22 program

According to DiSabatino, the CEO of Wilmington-based construction manager EDiS, approximately 22 veterans and one active-duty military member becomes a victim of suicide every day.  In 2015, Delaware experienced 11 veteran suicides, according to the VA’s most updated statistics.  That is down from 24 in 2014.  The 22in22 initiative began in 2015 as a response to this issue.

Jacob DiSabatino, Brian’s son, created 22in22 in 2015, when he was a junior at St. Mark’s High School, as a service project to raise awareness about 8,000 veterans to die each year from suicide.  The initiative blossomed and has gained national attention. 

Jacob is now a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army. In addition, actor Gary Sinise and the late musician Charlie Daniels have been part of the program.

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