Our veterans put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms and keep us safe. It’s a difficult, high-pressure job that leaves many service members changed for life. But, too often, these heroes are denied the resources they need to heal when they return home.

To address some of the challenges veterans face, Wisconsin lawmakers are considering a bill called the Corey Adams Searchlight Act. If it passes, the law would create a “Green Alert” system to notify the public if an at-risk veteran is missing. It would function much like an Amber Alert for missing children or a Silver Alert for missing seniors. The bill unanimously passed in the state Senate, but awaits a vote in the Assembly.

Inspired by a local hero

The push for a green alert system comes after the tragic death of a Milwaukee Air Force veteran, Corey Adams. Adams served three tours in the Middle East and his family noticed a distinct change when he returned home. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Adams went missing in March of 2017. Despite his family’s concern, local police waited eight days to conduct a search because Adams was not considered a “critical missing person.” His body was found more than two weeks later.

Could Adams have been saved if law enforcement had launched a search earlier? It’s difficult to know for sure, but his family wants to make sure no one else goes through what they did. If it passes, the Green Alert system could bring more attention to missing veterans and mobilize communities to find them in a timely manner.

Wisconsin is leading the charge

If the bill passes, Wisconsin would be the first state to implement such a system, potentially creating a model for other states to follow suit. The state has seen success with its “Silver Alert” program, which notifies the public when a vulnerable or at-risk senior goes missing.

Experts estimate that about 30 percent of returning veterans experience PTSD in their lifetime. We hope the state can lead the way in providing our nation’s heroes with the support they deserve after fighting for our freedoms.