We are only 20% of the way to our goal, please help if you can
November 25, 2016
BENEFITING: SOLDIERS PROJECT
In 2007 I returned from a 16 month tour in Iraq with the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, first in Mosul, Iraq and then in Baghdad, Iraq. When I returned I was told by the Veterans Administration (VA) that I dealt with possible Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as well as dealing with a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) known as Survivors Guilt.
The VA attempted to provide care but in accordance with the problems rife in the system at that time, my providers were changed so often it left me in the gap and I was nearly killed by the mishaps in handling my medications. I swore off the VA and went on without any assistance.
Several years later the cumulative stress of my dream career, a municipal police officer, and my untreated survivors guilt I began to fall prey to the effects and was deemed medically unfit for duty based upon my untreated PTSD. It was the end of my dream career and nearly the end of my life.
I thought often about ending my struggles then but I instead became involved in a great community, Roller Derby, which helped me to overcome my struggles and give me a reason to live. Sadly, in the last three years six men I served with didn't find their communities and took their own lives. I know that they were all great warriors and could have, and should have, lived long and fulfilling lives.
I know that I nearly took my own life even though I am only mildly effected by PTSD and depression, so I know that there are others out there struggling to survive that can't wait on the VA and the health care they deserve.
The Soldiers Project provides free of charge counseling to post 9/11 service members, veterans, and their families. There isn't a higher calling that I can think of, and wish that I had been aware of them before it cost me my career.
As of now there are only seven chapters of The Soldiers Project nationwide, but I hope to help raise awareness and funds to increase that to 30 chapters in the next two years.
Before I chose to work with The Soldiers Project, I took the time to investigate their financials as I didn't want to benefit any of the charities that only seem to benefit their board of directors. I was glad to find that nearly all of the funds raised go directly to supporting the care of veterans and their families.
So why the odd amount? Because point to point travel between Deadhorse, AK, the start of my journey, and Ushuaia Terro Del Fuego, Argentina, the end of my journey, is 9484 miles. While I will ride many more miles on my road to recovery, that number seemed a fitting testament to such a great organization.
If you can help, even a little, in donating to The Soldiers Project as part of Expedition Recovery, I hope you will chose to do so. I made it, but many don't. I hope we can expand the efforts of of this great organization to include many more than the seven locations it currently serves, and your donation can help in the spreading of that mission. Even more, your words of encouragement to mental health providers in your area to contact The Soldiers Project about getting involved will help to make the lives of post 9/11 service members, veterans, and their families that much better. With no limit on care and no reporting to the military chain of command for those served, you can help those currently defending our country, and those who have, to get the help to those who need it most to continue their missions in the military and in life.
SGT Zachary Sherman
US Army Infantry (Separated)