Today is April 22. Today’s letter is “S”.
I chose to write about suicide.
22 Veterans lost to suicide. Every. Single. Day.
22 men and women.
22 husbands and wives.
22 sons and daughters.
22 fathers and mothers.
22 brothers and sisters.
22 uncles, aunts, and cousins.
22 who served our country.
22 who deserve more, who earned more.
That is 22 too many. Too many lost to suicide.
My son David is a Vet. Five years in the USMC. Two tours in Afghanistan.
He has posted publicly on social media about his struggle with PTSD. He recently posted about the 22 veterans lost to suicide for 22 days. Each of those 22 days he did 22 push-ups.
He knows his “22 Day Challenge” will not bring back those who were lost.
His goal was to show others that they have options, there is help. He also wanted to speak to those who have experienced healing, to ask them to reach out.
My son has lost too many friends. In battle and to suicide.
By the grace of God, and because of others who reached out to him, he is not one of the 22. Not today. Hopefully not tomorrow.
He is doing what he can to reach out to other Vets. He is doing things to stay healthy. He is working on his recovery. He is also working to help save the 22 who are considering suicide today so that they step back from the edge.
I am doing this challenge not to bring to light veteran suicide, but to let other vets know they have options. I know how much it sucks looking at this disease while you are in its cusps. In the middle, that bullet looks way too good. When I was standing on the edge of that cliff wanting to jump, a hotline didn’t help. What did was a community of brothers reaching out to me when they didn’t know anything was wrong. When I was on the cliff, a friend took me by the hand and showed me the bridge.
Standing on that edge, all I can see is to jump. How else can I get away from those demons? But listen to me, hear my words. There is a bridge. It isn’t easy, it takes work. But if you take that first step, we can help with the rest. All you have to do is take that initial step back from the edge, let us help, and we can get you the rest of the way. Brother, its better on this side, I promise. Today I have an amazing life, a life worth living. Yes my demons still hound me, but nothing like they did. This is why I get involved with groups trying to create a community with vets- it works.
If you want to get involved, whether you are a vet or not, whether you can donate your time, resources, or a few dollars, here are a couple great foundations:
Warriors for Freedom
OKC based non profit, creating a community through events for for vets.
Military Muscle Foundation
Creating mental recovery and a community for vets through physical grind.
#militarymuscle #vets #22aday #project22 #r22 #w4f
Our friend Col. Pat Testerman (Ret.) took the 22 Day Challenge. He posted this video. Please watch it. Read what he wrote.
Consider what you can do to help. And pray. Pray for the men and women, both Vets and civilian, who battle with PTSD and other mental illnesses and who are on the edge. Pray that they step back today and find help.
22 is too many.