Monday, September 16, 2019

Riding to End Veteran Suicides

I hope that most people don't have anyone close to them commit suicide. The thought of that person having no hope, no possibility of light at the end of the tunnel is hard to deal with for the survivors. You wish they called you or talked to anyone. It is difficult thinking of someone close to you sitting there believing that they have no place to turn and the only alternative to rid the pain is to kill themselves. Any suicide is difficult.  Veteran suicides most troubling because their problems, that have descended them to a dark place, occurred in the service of their country. I have two close friends who decided they were better off dead. They simply saw no hope and ended their pain with self inflicted gunshots. See you on the other side Albert and Mitch.

The good news is that veteran suicides is a recognized national problem. There are several organizations trying to stem the tide of Veteran suicides, each in their own way. Perhaps one of the most unique ways is an organization call Trail to Zero, using the healing power of horses to bring awareness to veteran suicides.

The BraveHearts Story

In 2017, BraveHearts pilot program for Trail to Zero began in NYC. Since then, BraveHearts has taken the ride to the next level by being able to bring more veterans into two cites (NYC & DC in 2018) to bring awareness to veteran suicide while also helping the veterans on the ride to heal and advance their horsemanship. In April 2019, BraveHearts presented at the N.A.M.U.C.A conference where hundreds of mounted police officers heard veterans stories from Trail to Zero. The response from the units were overwhelming and brought forth the opportunity to add a third city, Chicago, in 2019.

BraveHearts will be in Chicago on 28 September 2019 and Houston on 2 November 2019.

BraveHearts rides will bring the overwhelming statistic of 20 veterans committing suicide per day to the forefront of Americans’ minds while also helping to educate veterans and Americans about equine assisted services and the benefits that it has as an alternative approach to healing. It is our greatest hope that we may reach at least one veteran who is currently battling suicidal ideologies, letting them know that they are not alone, that their community cares, and that equine assisted services may help. We are forever grateful for the NYPD Mounted Unit, US Park Police Mounted Horse Unit and the Chicago Mounted Unit for standing behind us as we continue to ride until 20 becomes ZERO.

BraveHearts is the largest and most innovative PATH International 501c3 organization in the country serving veterans through equine assisted services, serving 834 veterans through 19,609 sessions in 2018, at no cost to any veteran.

Learn more about BraveHearts and Trail to Zero, and/or to donate to their cause, you can go to the websites, Trail to Zero and BraveHearts Riding, and please watch the video below on how horses have helped many veterans. God Bless this Republic and the Veterans who paid terrible prices for their service.  

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