Monday, September 12, 2016

22 with 22 for the 22 - OHIO

Written/Photography by
Andrew Livelsberger

Background:
This group wants to bring awareness to the issue of veteran suicide and self harm.   You can find out more at their Facebook Page.

Impression:
I ran into this group purely by accident. I was down in the Short North on the 10th of September, minding my own business - checking some camera settings when I heard one of hte loudest ruckus' ever in my life.  I look up to see this:


And, yes...they are pointing right at me.  Not realizing exactly what was going on, I just shuffled off to the side of the street, waiting for them to pass.  Almost every single one of them gave me a high five as they passed.  Toward the end of the crowd, one of them handed me a yellow slip of paper.  

On it read:
"Thank you for your Support!  The men and women you see marching today have come together  for a singular cause - to draw attention to the issue of veteran suicide and self-harm.  We have all proudly served our country and wish to continue our service to each other by ensuring that every veteran has access to the help they need.  If you're a veteran and want to help out or join us, visit us at @22ohio on Facebook.  If you, a friend, or a loved one needs help, reach out to Vet2vet, a veteran staffed suicide prevention hotline at (877) 838-2838 and check out their website at veteranscall.us"

I followed them for a while, down High Street, onto Goodale Street and into Goodale Park.  There, they rested a minute.


Thick in the brotherhood, giving each other the support they had grown to depend on while in active service.  Joking when left to their own devices, but also attentive, serious and caring when fellow veterans shared their stories of attempted suicide, self harm or struggles with re-adjusting to a non-combat zone.




After the short rest, they sling their packs, flags and gear onto their backs and headed out again.



Veterans are often misunderstood and unless you have been in a combat situation, you never can really know what they have gone through.  If you know of a veteran who struggles with thoughts of suicide, self-harm or PTSD, please pass along the information above and get them in contact with someone who can help them get past the hurdles in front of them.