HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — After becoming a victim of veteran suicide, the family and friends of one Hollidaysburg veteran are working to make sure he will be remembered not for how he died, but for how he lived. 

Lieutenant Colonel Pete Dannenberg’s friends described him with the same word: humble. The West Point graduate served the country as a Special Forces officer for 27 years.

“He was the guy that you always wanted to be with because he brought light into the room,” said Paul Good, one of Pete’s friends.

That light continued until Pete took his own life on June 6, 2021, a victim of veteran suicide.

“It took the legs out from under you and was a very difficult thing for all of us to wrap our heads around,” said Pete’s friend, Jim Woomer.

Pete’s friends and family did not want his light to dim. Now, they are working to make sure his spirit will be remembered through a free public event.

“We thought, if we’re gonna do this, if we’re gonna gather people, and in understanding that this was a shock for us, we’re learning we should raise awareness and maybe some money to work on the problem,” said Jim Rokosky, Pete’s friend.

Hollidaysburg declared Saturday, June 11 as Pete Dannenberg Day. Community members will gather at Legion Park to learn more about veteran suicide awareness in honor of Pete. 

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“We wanted to help him keep giving even after his death by doing this for the community,” Woomer said. “Giving thanks for his service, thanks for his friendship but also being able to support the community and hopefully prevent this from occurring to another family.”

During the event, the organizers will accept donations for two organizations with connections to veteran suicide: Stop Soldier Suicide and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. The event is privately funded, and organizers said all donations will be sent directly to the organizations.

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“If there’s any take away, if we can help one person in this area to not put their friends and family members through what we’re going through, that would be a blessing,” Good said.