03 January 2021
By: Kristie Tertel
YOU DON’T NEED TO WEAR A UNIFORM TO CONTINUE SERVING YOUR COUNTRY!
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States military, with current estimate of 1 veteran committing suicide every 22 minutes, with updated estimates skyrocketing to 1 every 27 minutes now thanks to the COVID-19 global pandemic- according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the American Veterans ‘AMVETS’ Organization. Civilian suicide rates are up too, accounting for over 50,000 deaths annually, with suicide being the 10th leading cause of death in America. Prima facie, my purpose of writing this is to share my personal experience dealing with PTSD, sharing the survival stories of five veterans and to reach out, no judgement, to anyone ‘At-Risk’ who feels alone and overcome- silently suffering.
“To my friends who once wore the uniform, just a reminder that you can always serve your country. Sometimes it’s just right in your backyard. Be the leader your community deserves.” -Earl Granville
Fundamentally, my thesis is simple: You are not alone! You matter and you are enough. You are worth fighting for. As such, in doing so, I am providing readers with a current list of fresh, new, easily accessible resources for ‘self-help’ and to expedite the healing process.
Re-Building ‘Hope’ with Strategic Community Partnerships
Purple-heart recipient, Army Veteran Earl Granville explains when describing his life’s mission as a public speaker teaching others how to overcome adversity through explaining his personal ethos in- ‘The Weight We Carry’- that at any age is you must always have a purpose, explains in his many documentaries how maintaining a positive attitude will help you succeed in life, and the importance of being involved with your community. Granville highlights that:
“When that weight of adversity gets too heavy, it’s when we can lean on each other as a community to carry the weight together.”
Furthermore, the power of what a community can do to prevent suicide is exemplified in the five veterans celebrated (infra) in this article: Earl Granville, Jonathon Lubecky, Joshua Macias, Raymond Lott and Dick Heller, respectively.
My Story of Survival as a Civilian
First and foremost, you are not alone. As a civilian who has never put on a uniform, I can share my personal experience. I suffer(ed) from intense PTSD as a survivor of Domestic Violence. I’ve never been suicidal but have been blessed with access to multiple valuable resources that aided in my recovery- that I wish to share with you today. But let me ask you this: Are you OK?
I wish I could go back in time and erase the physical and mental scars, delete all of the abuse in my memory, divorce myself from the unbearably public smear campaigns by my ex-boyfriend. Four years ago, I was exhausted, putting on a fake smile whenever necessary, barely paying my bills- pure survival, robot-mode- when a Target cashier, a complete stranger, asked me ‘Ma’am…. are you ok?’. Those three-words sent me back to reality. I couldn’t hold back the tears- I had finally hit my breaking point. I didn’t respond, honestly, because nothing came out when I opened my mouth. Makeup could hide the scars on my face- but I couldn’t hide it in my glazed-over, swollen eyes. Right then and there, unbeknownst to that perfect stranger, the simple, kind gesture of asking ‘if I was OK’ gave me a license to be honest, without judgement or criticism- to finally be able to be true to myself at that Baltimore Target check-out counter that fateful day- it’s ‘ok’ to not be ‘ok’. As I walked back to my car in shock, I was finally able to answer his question. At the time, I was honestly not ok.
QUICK QUESTION… Are you OK?
I tell this story a lot whenever I speaking about surviving years of domestic violence and how I use the lessons I’ve learned to help empower others in similar situations. It resonates with so many DV and PTSD survivors because answering that question- Are you OK?- with genuine honesty, gives people permission to speak their truth and no longer suffer in silence (anymore). Thanks to social media, Americans are seemingly living out very private moments in public spaces, to be recorded online and ‘shared’ over the internet indefinitely has a detrimental, polarizing effect on our psyche. That polarization, coupled with the year-long physical isolation from our loved ones due to COVID, has left us all feeling more alone and divided than ever. No wonder reports of domestic violence have near-tripled in 2020 due to the pandemic and suicide rates are skyrocketing nationwide?! In places where there was once compromise, a shared community- there is now polarizing division and isolation.
Sharing is Carling 😊
Henceforth, the biggest danger in lonely, siloed living means that there’s no one- not even a perfect stranger- stopping to asking, ‘Are you OK?’, and all moments within the human experience- whether they’re desolate, fear-provoking or revered – are all lived out entirely alone- zero echo-chamber. Living and actually thriving in 2020 was incredibly difficult- an entire year in self-isolation pushed people to their limits. There was no one to see some’s suffering. There was no one to help, to stop and ask those three important words: Are you OK?
The internal struggles associated with surviving domestic violence, similar to veterans return from war with both visible and ‘invisible’ scars (i.e. PTSD), means carrying an almost unbearable grief daily- 24/7, 365 days a year- all lived out alone. This ‘struggle’ is experienced by many but talked about by few. Despite the staggering commonality of the internal pain associated with PTSD, anxiety, depression, etc., suffering in silence (especially as we saw in 2020, where there was seemingly no other options, prima facie) is the norm on how we morn as a nation. Yet, despite this commonality of symptoms, across the board, for both civilians and veterans, this crucial- How are you? -conversation, alongside obtaining professional ‘help’ remains taboo, constantly re-enforced by solitude and worsened by a sedimentary lifestyle (which was our only option for most of 2020), riddled with unwarranted shame- which ultimately, only perpetuates a cycle of intense, solitary mourning, sometimes ending in suicide.
“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” -Phil Donahue
My end-goal here is to prevent that- to give you some options; and, more importantly, to help you (i.e. the reader) help yourself and your fellow brothers and sisters in the veteran community as well.
Regrettably, every single successful suicide is a deeply-felt tragedy grieved by surviving family and friends and suicide has long-term, permanent effects that simply do not ‘end’ with the death of a loved one. Offering well wishes of ‘our prayers and support during this difficult time’, mourning, grieving and even expressing our compassion are insufficient to the responsibility at hand: we all must do more to prevent suicide, particularly amongst our growing (aging) veteran community. Suicide is preventable and every single citizen-advocate, public servant, elected official and stakeholder plays a critical role in providing hope and community for ‘At-Risk’ veterans in the United States.
Sharing Veteran’s Stories = Saves Veteran’s Lives
Prima facie, when it comes to preventing suicide, sharing is caring. Some, like myself (supra), have bravely shared their stories of ‘survival’- no holds bar. Humans are meant to be vulnerable. Let’s step out of that comfort zone, and carry the weight of adversity together as a community. Suicide prevent is achieved by openly sharing stories, especially amongst veterans, and that built-in comradery attached to wearing that uniform is further entrenched upon sharing the same life struggles faced when over-coming both mental and physical obstacles within the veteran community in an open, judgement-free community forum.
While roughly eight percent of the U.S. population suffers from some form of PTSD, veterans experience it at a significantly higher 11-20 percent. Iraq War veteran Jonathan Lubecky is among the most inspirational stories of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy’s potential. (I very strongly advise the reader to watch this inspiring 7-minute documentary on Lubecky published by ‘The Economist’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K5sJuTbQvY )
After serving fours years in the Marine Corps, Army SGT (R) Jonathon Lubecky was deployed to Balad Air Base in 2006, during the Iraq War. In one of the numerous mortar strikes the soldiers endured, ,- many of his men were killed by that same strike. Despite a multitude of treatments over 8+ years post-medical separation from the Army, Lubecky attempted suicide on five separate occasions because the options ineffective treatment for PTSD were non-existent prior to participating in MAPS clinical trials- which ultimately led Jon to being cured with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.
Also, in doing so, sharing pain, defeats, similar struggles, mutual symptoms- all promotes a new commonality amongst the ranks-echoing You Are NOT Alone and that there’s thousands of ‘brothers and sisters’ around the world who have your six. Veterans sharing their stories have opened the door, knowing that when one person speaks truth, it gives license for all of us to do the same- no judgement. My personal experience, coupled with the veterans highlight below, infra, proves that by simply asking how someone is doing, reciprocated to actively listening to the answer without judgement, the load of ‘grief’ often become lighter- for all parties involved.
PTSD and Suicide Prevention: Civilian and Veteran Targeted Demographics
According to recent studies jointly- published by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and DAV on January 2, 2021, the ‘general veteran population’ experiences PTSD at a higher rate than the rest of the population. The VA estimates (www.ptsd.va.gov) between 11 and 20 percent of veterans who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD, compared with about 7 to 8 percent of the ‘general civilian population’ in the US, yet with near-identical when describing substantive PTSD treatments, predictable behavioral patterns and outwardly-symptomatic cognition without an effective, long-term treatment plan for PTSD.
MAPS Project MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Treatment for Severe PTSD (Domestic Violence Trauma)
Correspondingly, my friend and Hill colleague- SGT (R) Jonathon Lubecky of MAPS- always highlights in our weekly conference calls, that- PTSD is best described like autism- it’s a spectrum; and, because of this, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’, cookie-cutter ‘PTSD Treatment Mold’ remedy universally applicable to everyone with PTSD in both size, degree of efficiency, accessibility and scale. Furthermore, Lubecky notes that in discussions with Senior Officials at the VA over the past 6-8 months on The Hill, approximately 30% of all VA patients diagnosed with PTSD have no effective treatment options, whatsoever (i.e. hence, living in misery daily is the only option to some). However, prima facie, the first step towards healing is being invited to share our pain- with an open heart and mind.
Veteran Story #1: Earl Granville, Operation Enduring Warrior
Army SSGT Earl Granville served nine years in the Pennsylvania National Guard as an infantryman with deployments to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan (where he lost two brothers in addition to a limb- his left leg in a roadside bomb while on patrol), earning the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Purple Heart medal. Since losing his twin brother to suicide in 2010, Earl has dedicated his life traveling the world as a public speaker discussing healthy ways of battling adversity from his own life experiences and sharing his story to any audience that will listen (completely free of charge) and spreading awareness by sharing his program of carrying ‘Cindy the Cinderblock’ on a chain to symbolize the ‘weight’ we carry. Additionally, Earl continues to serve his community daily by working for three major non-profits: Operation Enduring Warrior, The Oscar Mike Foundation and Warrior Strong to help keep wounded and disabled veterans/law enforcement physically active post-injury. It is evident that Earl’s successful ‘mission’ doing important work for veterans suffering from PTSD whilst simultaneously battling his own demons has granted his ‘brand’ notoriety for inspiring the masses- worldwide. This hero’s daily mantra is exemplified throughout his advocacy and life’s work- he advises veterans (and civilians) can overcome adversity successfully by finding the three ‘P’s in life: finding new Passions, re-defining your Purpose and being Part of something bigger than themselves- a community. Granville’s program encourages veterans to step out of their comfort zones daily in order to grow, how a positive attitude will help you succeed in life and re-discover happiness and, perhaps most importantly, the importance of community- .i.e. that you never have to carry the ‘weight’ of adversity of alone.
• Instagram: @EarlGranville @OperationEnduringWarrior
• Twitter: @granville_earl @EnduringWarrior
• Facebook (Public Figure Page): www.facebook.com/GranvilleEarl
• Website: www.EnduringWarrior.org www.WarriorStrongInc.org
Veteran Story #2: Jonathon Lubecky, MAPS Project
MAPS Project Stage 3 Phase of MDMA-Psychotherapy Clinical Trials is currently accepting (patient) applications for candidacy for healing severe PTSD. Accordingly, retired Army and Marine Corps Combat-Veteran, Jonathon Lubecky, knows the challenges of living with the invisible scars of war all too well. In 2006 whilst deployed in Iraq, an enemy mortar crashed down, then blew-up, inside the portajon toilet he was using- causing a severe traumatic brain injury and PTSD. Had he stood up, the shrapnel would have gone through him instead of in front of me.
Decorated Marine and Army veteran, SGT(R) Jonathan Lubecky, 44, is a 100% Disabled Combat Veteran who served in Iraq 2005-2006. Currently,Army SGT (R) Jonathon Lubecky works in Washington, D.C. as the Veterans and Governmental Affairs Liaison for the 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). In general, the mission of MAPS (www.maps.org) is to develop an overall medical, cultural and legal context for people to benefit from the careful, scientifically-based uses of psychedelics and marijuana to treat, heal and possibly cure PTSD, it’s underlying symptoms, overall, severe depression and other relevant daily side effects directly resulting from surviving trauma. MAPS is a leader in psychedelic research; and, since 1986, MAPS has been undertaking research, securing federal grants and private funding, carefully recording and analyzing evidence-based data, conducting clinical trials, writing and lobbying for both state and national legislation in order to achieve MAPS goal- to create safe, legal, and beneficial opportunities for psychedelics in medicine and society in general- throughout the U.S. and across the world. (Please read Lubecky’s full, in-depth personal account experiencing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy firsthand at: https://medium.com/s/trips-worth-telling/mdma-helped-me-recover-from-war-f0aad48345eb ). Predictably, ongoing FDA-approved research and clinical trials are healing people- both veterans an civilians dually participating in the study- with intense, treatment-resistant PTSD and in some instances- as was the case with Lubecky- MDMA-assisted therapy is actually curing PTSD all together. After surviving a decade of experiencing debilitating, severe PTSD- including constant anxiety and depression, Jonathon now credits his successful completion of the MAPS clinical drug trial as life-altering: he no longer feels the overwhelming daily burden of PTSD.
“It’s been life altering. It’s been a miracle!” -SGT (R) Jonathon Lubecky
No longer experiencing PTSD symptoms, Lubecky dedicates his time to advocating for the
treatment, getting more veterans involved and changing the way society talks about mental illness. Lubecky’s work throughout the country (and globe) for MAPS as a veterans and government affairs liaison, advocating for better PTSD treatment options lobbying on The Hill coupled with coordinating outreach throughout various veteran and PTSD non-profits in order to expand the demographic of healing, hopefully even curing, PTSD- as he quite often speaks about his experience with the MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. (Please read more about MAPS, Lubecky and MDMA in this article written by Jonathon at: https://redstate.com/jmlubecky/2016/11/16/cure-ptsd-n63825 ).
Cost-Benefit Analysis of Undergoing MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy PTSD Cure
Lubecky advocates to both veterans and civilian trauma-survivors with PTSD that ‘compassionate use’ most recently expanded by the FDA granting limited access to a small demographic of ‘eligible applicants’ within MAPS clinical trials that includes people facing a serious life-threatening condition- i.e. PTSD- in order to qualify prima facie to undergo experimental therapies that could benefit them long-term. Through each patient’s specifically tailed treatment plan, MAPS assures that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is effective because the MDMA active ingredients put the patient’s mind, body and spirit in a ‘safe place’ it needs to be in order to facilitate healing- whereas each patient is closely monitored under direct supervision of medical doctors and therapists.
Instead of settling for a lifelong, miserable illness due to lack of accessible treatment options for PTSD, he wants all survivors of trauma to think of PTSD as merely- a mental injury that can be healed- with MDMA-Therapy. “We’ve all been told this is a chronic, lifelong mental illness, that our symptoms can be addressed but we can’t make it go away,” Lubecky said. “MAPS and this MDMA therapy have shown that we can heal it.” If he hadn’t participated in the trial, Lubecky believes he would have died by suicide. “I’d be in Arlington cemetery,” he said. Consequently, Lubecky always brags that his MDMA ‘Success Story’ and ultimate reason for participating in these trials, curing his PTSD, has been his stepson, highlighting that MAPS saved his life in more ways than one; insofar as, Lubecky concludes that the MAPS Project is the sole reason he has a father instead of a folded flag. In turn, Lubecky directly benefited from, successfully completing MAPS MDMA- assisted psychotherapy clinical trials over 5 years ago and wants to offer all veterans (and also including civilian sufferers of PTSD) the same access to the resources he did that ultimately CURED his severe PTSD, anxiety and depression.
*Please Note: Readers interested in applying for expanded access to MDMA therapy can learn more online at the official MAPS Project ‘Resources’ website updated daily: www.mapspublicbenefit.com.
• Instagram: @JonLubecky @MAPSnews
• Twitter: @JonLubecky @maps
• Facebook: www.facebook.com/mapsmdma
• Websites: www.maps.org
Veteran Story #3: Joshua Macias- #Project 27, Veterans For Trump
Thank you President Trump, for keeping all of your promises made to Veterances in Virginia
Co-founder and Chairman of Veterans for Trump, Hon. Mr. Joshua Macias is a decorated retired Navy veteran who found his true calling in life by honoring God’s word through daily philanthapy, volunteerism and service to his veteran cummity- multi-tasking anergetically campaigning nationwidge boots on the ground, to re-elect President Donald J. Trump
President Trump Promises Kept in Virginia! Thank You!
#End27 , Co-Founder
Every day, Americans of all backgrounds and persuasions enjoy their lives under the protection of American servicemen and servicewomen. At a growing rate, we are failing at least 27 every day who have provided our shield and will lose their own life, at their hand, due to the sense of hopeless and despair associated with PTS.
The disproportionate and unacceptable rate of suicide among veterans is only one of the health-related challenges they face. obstacles within the VA system associated with prescription drugs are vast and pervasive. There is a problem of suicide and PTSD that brings us together this month and today, and with your help, we plan on doing something about it. At END27, we have research and clinical evidence that supports the effectiveness of a holistic approach to PTSD treatment and alleviation. There are numerous special programs / modalities / services that we as a community have founds beneficial and healing. Medical practitioners, specialists, care providers, doctors of every area advising or directing our initiatives.
A social safety net comprised of caring and informed family, friends, churches, Veteran Non-Profits and other groups also plays a critical role as part of that holistic solution. We know that a comprehensive, systematic, science & support-based approach to treating PTS will significantly reduce the rate of Veteran suicide within the group of people who risk their lives to save our lives.
A Veteran Initiative from Awareness to Action
We need to ask every American to enlist in a civilian army formed to fight for the health ofevery American man and woman who has served this nation in uniform. We will keep you apprised as to our efforts, and sometime within the next 60 days we are going to call you to active service. We will ask you to contact representatives, senators, journalists, neighbors, and rally them to our program. We will ask you to contact our President and ask him to support our program. We will ask you to let your elected leaders know that they need to open their doors to us in Washington and not just listen to us, not just take us into consideration, but to work with us to implement real change in how we treat our returning service people in every aspect of their healthcare.
We want Rush Limbaugh to work with Rachel Maddow. We want Kanye to work with Jay-Z.
We want Rand Paul to work with Dick Durbin. We want Trump supporters to work with Clinton
supporters. No matter what our differences are, we would not be able to express them without the protection of the American soldier. They volunteer to risk their lives on the battlefield to protect the lives of every American. They did not volunteer to lose their life at the hands of a medical system that seemingly can’t protect them. Everybody enjoys the freedoms thanks to their sacrifices. Everybody says they love our troops. Everybody acknowledges the current system of health care isn’t working for them. Everybody knows that the private healthcare system performs better. It is time for everybody to do something about it. We ask that today fill out the form below and follow us on social media at twitter @End27Now and www.facebook.com/END27VetSuicides
Veterans for Trump, Chairman
In 2015 the first team of Veterans to come to service for our President started in two places at the same time, in Virginia with Joshua Macias and in Florida with Vlad Lemets. While Joshua was our Presence on the ground, organizing Veteran Community, Vlad took care of the digital aspect of things. We arrived eager to support our candidate and quickly found comradery in our joined military service. As all #Veterans know once a #Vet always a #Vet and the issues of #VAReform and #END22 were deep on our hearts. For far too long the political class has promised support to our community without any action. We saw a difference which has paid YUGE dividends in our currently seated president POTUS45 Donald J. Trump. His actions as a civilian contractor supported military and Veteran initiatives long before running for office showcasing his true compassionate desire to help our community. Speaking with his top aid it was made clear that taking care of the Veterans was top on his agenda. We sought out to ensure that the Veteran Plight was on the top of the list of every presidential debate. We can not afford to continue to lose the best and brightest among us to self-inflicted wounds caused by WAR trauma, lack of earned benefits, resources or improper treatment.
The need to create Vets For Trump movement was evident. It was clear that the Veteran support was key to the victory of the Trump MAGA Movement. President Trump Formally announced running in June 2015 and Veterans for Donald Trump page launched online in July 2015. @veteransfordonaldtrump. To this day it is the Largest Vets for Trump resource online with over 210K Followers. Later on we acquired from a fellow Veteran and Patriot a second Largest Online Vets for Trump Page which now has over 130K Followers @trumpvet.
#VetsForTrump formed alongside the grassroots MAGA movement across the country as the backbone and augmented security for our Meetups. Veteran Courage, Strength and commitment quickly fueled the fire of passion within the MAGA movement and hundreds of thousands of Veterans joined the cause to stand up and ensure a future for our community encompassing every race creed or age. Vets are the most diverse community there is in the Nation. We do not see color, race or religion as defining factors – only the branch of service you call home. As our Veterans showed to support our President elect we were reminded of the bonds that tie us together with the First Responder Community. Many of our Police, Fire and Safety personnel are Veterans whom we serve with and their fight for support is our fight – for we never leave a man behind.
We have made friends and allies with many influencers and organizations such as Patriot Guard, Diamond and Silk, Deplorable Choir, Cowboys for Trump, Bikers for Trump, Black Voices for Trump, Latinos For Trump, Diversity Coalition, Citizens for Trump and Turning Point USA to name the few. The need for Veterans to step into the Leadership Roles in our Country can not be more clear. We are the Team that is doing it.
• Instagram: @realvetsfortrump
• TwitterS: @JoshuaMacias @Vets_4_Trump
• Facebook: www.facebook.com/JoshuaMaciasTeam / www.facebook.com/veteransfordonaldtrump
• Websites: www.joshuamacias.com www.freemacias.com www.end27.com www.vets-for-trump.com www.veteransfordonaldtrump.com
Veteran Story #4: Raymond Lott, The Marine Rapper
The Marine Rapper (TMR), served 10 years in USMC as a combat war reporter during infantry deployments to Iraq where he earned a combat action ribbon and combat photography award (in the same firefight), and then Afghanistan. TMR uses his platform and celebrity status as a 4-time Billboard Award winner to provide a daily service to anyone with an internet connection dedicated to helping others with PTSD (especially veterans) with music to motivate and connect others, start conversation, share his past struggles over overcoming the cycles of depression and loss of purpose after getting out of the Marines in 2014; and how he overcame them by immortalizing the fallen in his music and seeking therapy. Scheduled daily, TMR goes ‘live’ at 10am PST on his public figure Instagram account for at least 22 minutes to bring awareness to his 100,000+ followers and to let them know they are not alone and help give them purpose by offering a free ‘helping hand’ (to complete strangers) whenever possible.
• Instagrams: @TheMarineRapper @MilitaryMusician @tophertownmusic
• Twitters: @TheMarineRapper @MilitaryMusician
• Facebook (Public Figure Page): www.facebook.com/TheMarineRapper
• Websites: www.TheMarineRapper.com https://tophertown.com/store/the-patriot
Veteran Story #5: Dick Heller, The Heller Foundation
Respectfully, the Hon. Mr. Richard ‘Dick’Heller (‘GunDude’) resides with his beautiful wife in Washington, D.C. and is quite literally the God Father of the Second Amendment and is also directly responsible for saving my (KT) life- As such,so Dick is essentially a real-life gun slinging (preferably revolver) 2A ‘Guardian Angel’ of FREEDOM! Please be sure to check out his non-profit organization, The Heller Foundation, at: www.HellerFoundation.org for live updates of his upcoming Second Amentment Court Cases, Special VIP Events and pictures from his decaes of philanthropy teaching gun safety and as a Professional Second Amendment Speaker- nationwide!
DC v. Heller (2008) SCOTUS Decision
Dick is a nationally known 2nd Amendment advocate and a proud citizen of the United States of America. Heller’s most recent gun case is entitled Heller II v. DC, a follow-up to the victorious Heller v. DC case of 2008 that overturned the 1976 DC Gun Ban and opened the door for 150 new gun cases nationwide in the first year after the Supreme Court decision.
Heller became interested in 2nd Amendment Liberties when his house was shot up – once through his living room window and once in the front door – in the 1970’s at his residence on Capitol Hill. He realized that the 1976 DC Gun Ban was disarming good citizens yet criminals were still bearing arms. Heller did not find the situation to be moral, safe, or constitutional and realized that – –
“Doing nothing was no longer an option !” -Dick Heller
Heller advocated for gun-rights as a citizen and as DC Armed Special Police Officer. Ironically, when Heller v. DC was filed – formerly known as Parker vs. DC – he was working at the Supreme Court Annex – Thurgood Marshall Federal Judicial Center.
In addition to his commitment to 2nd Amendment Freedoms, Heller is actively involved in the DC Community. In 1984, he founded the “Children’s Birthright Trust Fund” – a charity that supports and raises funds for youth projects, such as computer access – and has taught classes on entrepreneurship in both DC public schools and DC housing projects. He has also served as the Treasurer of The DC Libertarian Party from 2004 until 2011 and was actively involved with Dr. Ron Paul’s two Presidential Bids – Libertarian and Republican.
Before his time as a 2nd Amendment proponent, he worked his way through Montgomery College in Silver Spring, MD (earning an AA in Engineering) and completed one year of MBA studies in London’s Kingston Polytech. His previous jobs consisted of: Bank Teller, Data Technician at NASA-Greenbelt, IT Consultant for TYMnet, and Investment Banker. Prior to attending Montgomery College, Heller served in the Army. He was a Paratrooper in the 101st Airborne division and also a Sky Diver at Fort Campbell, KY. Heller’s childhood, growing up in a Navy and then an Army family, consisted of frequent travels across the U.S. and abroad prior to his graduation from Manteca High School in Manteca, California. Heller has four brothers and was born in San Diego, CA.
o Instagrams: @SpartanKangaroo @TheMarineRapper media
o Twitter(Public Figure Page):
o Facebook (Public Figure Page):
o Websites: www.TheHellerFoundation.org www.goa.org www.gunowners.org
o Emails: [email protected], [email protected]
Creating an Army of Suicide Prevention Citizen-Advocates
By strategically partnering with these (supra) five veterans and sharing their stories of successful survivorship, we all share the same mission of aggressively confronting and eliminating veteran suicide head-on. Effectively, to succeed in preventing the national ‘veteran suicide’ epidemic, we must all play a role by becoming, individually, an informed, engaged suicide-prevention-advocate. We must offer hope to those veterans who are facing rough times. Nonetheless, the foundation for that hope is through understanding- and understanding begins with awareness. As citizen-advocates, our awareness must begin with an initial attentiveness to potential suicide risk. Together, as Americans, we can all exponentially increase our impact and reach through collaborating and through drawing public awareness campaigns to this current public health crisis crippling our veteran population through empowering and educating grass-root advocates nationwide with an acute understanding of risk/protective factors and potential warning signs (i.e. sleeplessness, social isolation, lack of a support-system, relationship issues, hopelessness, additional mental and/or physical health problems, unmotivated, increased substance abuse, etc.) of suicide. This intense, hybrid approach utilizes the latest technology to reach (at no-cost) more ‘At-Risk’ veterans in underserved communities, regardless of whether or not they chose to formally receive care at a VA facility in their state. This aggressive knowledge campaign coupled with protective measures to be our heroes’ own ‘boots on the ground’ here at home.
Veterans are strong, trained to be mission-driven and have a general ‘pack’ mentality overall when it comes to having a sense of community. Be their community. Helping veterans deepen social connectedness, finding a renewed, rewarding sense of purpose in civilian life and rediscovering personal resilience can be easily achieved by any well-disciplined citizen-advocate. Build a sense of community by becoming a veteran’s designated ‘Favorite Person’- for example: start a daily, predictable schedule, schedule and follow-through with ‘buddy checks’ routinely, arrange peer mentorships and establish collaborations with Veteran Service Organizations and other non-profits to both empower and employ veterans through a sense of belonging years after military separation.
However, these recommendations are only part of the solution. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 (available 24-7/365) if you know a veteran contemplating suicide.
• KT, [email protected], @TheMarineRapperMedia
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