How -One Step- Can Save A Life – Josh Deane – Medium
17 years young. A drive past the recruiting station on his way home from work grabbed Nate Deane’s attention. He had been contemplating the thought of “wanting to do more with his life.” In his terms, he is someone who wants to be a part of something bigger… something… like the Military. The screeching wheels on the asphalt can be heard as the car sharply turns into the parking lot. Nate is now heading towards the door. He pauses for a minute… then opens the door — unknowing his life is about to be forever changed. Fast forward four months, and the door opens on the bus as the Drill Instructor makes his first impression. Shouting can be heard from blocks away as the recruits align on the infamous yellow footprints at the Marine Corps Recruit Division in San Diego, California.
- Three months later, he is a now U.S. Marine.
- Within the first year, he has completed his Military Occupation Speciality training and shipped off to his first Duty Station.
- By year two he is shipped off to Iraq for his first deployment.
- By year three he is promoted again and on his 2nd deployment to Afghanistan.
- Year four, he completes his service requirements and separates from the military.
Year four and one month later… Nate parks his car in the driveway for the first time since he left. He returned to his house that looks the same, drives a car that contains that same “old” smell, and greeted by the same neighbors he left years ago. Thrown off by the minimal changes that have occurred over such an extended period, Nate attempts to “fit in” to society. He obtains a job in Construction, makes a few “new friends” and brushes off the vivid dreams and memories that have begun to occur play in his mind. More often than not, Nate starts to exclude himself from events and people. Straight home from work to the beer in the fridge seems to be the new routine.
- One year passes… seclusion is the new norm.
- Two years pass and two more of his closest friends are lost to the war that he would have been involved in — Had he reenlisted.
- Three years pass and the drinking increases…
- Four years later and Nate loses his job, is forced to foreclose his home, and sells most of his provisions for food or alcohol.
- Five years later and he has now been homeless for roughly a year. The money earned from begging is used on alcohol — in hopes to subdue the thoughts, visions, and memories of the wars seen…
- He reflects on the life.. his choices… he feels helpless… “no one understands”… “maybe it would be easier if it all ended” … “what’s even the point.”
Made up scenario? Quick to escalate? Seeming dramatic?
Think again! It will sadden you to know that the statistics when discussing our military service men and woman are frightening. That, while the scenario provided above may not reflect a true story, there are roughly 22 veterans that may succumb to suicide this very day. Mental illness is currently the leading cause of death amongst our service men and woman, and the death toll rises with each moment. A National Suicide Data Report was released from the Veteran Affairs stating that from 2005 through 2015, there was an average of 21.6 suicides every day. Of the 21.6 reported, 16.8 were veterans, and 4.8 were active-duty servicemembers, guardsmen, and reservists. An additional Suicide Report was shared, stating that 22 veterans, active duty military, and reservists, are lost to suicide every day (Wentling, 2018). That is roughly 7, 519 deaths a year…….
But… What is being done about this? Anything?
Luckily, there are companies, like Twenty-Two Steps, that are taking steps forward to eradicate this heartbreaking statistic!
Twenty-Two Steps is an American owned, veteran operated company seeking to raise both jobs, awareness, and funding for both veterans, active duty service members, and reservists. Twenty-Two Steps is developing an e-commerce company that lists high-quality apparel and merchandise to its targeted audience. A large proceed of all sales will then be donated to assist in raising both awareness, funding, and job opportunities for the service of our armed forces men and woman. The products that range from construction, military, and fashionable apparel as well as miscellaneous items that complement the company’s agenda and shares the logo of the company. A few examples are: