June is PTSD awareness month in Oklahoma, a condition that affects members of the military and first responders more than most people.
A former veteran with PTSD recently shared her story with me and challenged me to do pushups to bring awareness to the issue of veteran suicide.
Members of the military and first responders joined me for the 22 Pushup Challenge issued by an organization called 22Kill, formed after a study said 22 veterans commit suicide every day in the U.S.
Stay the Course is another organization that helps veterans get through those dark times. They have honor rings presented to people who show their support of veterans and first responders.
"Lori Fullbright has been very active in the Tulsa community as far as working with veterans, with first responders,” said veteran Valerie Hill.
Hill presented me with an honor ring and organized the event. She knows I covered Oklahoma soldiers in Bosnia, interviewed members of the Navy and Marines in the Adriatic Sea, covered Oklahomans on the war front in Iraq and interview first responders weekly.
She is a veteran with PTSD. She is also a murder victim's daughter and shared her story with me last year. She says that experience saved her. Now, she wants to help others.
I admire her greatly for taking her tragedy and turning it into something to help someone else. When she invited TPD Sgt. Malcolm Wightman, EMT David Russell and Tulsa firefighter Jonathan Orange to help raise awareness, they answered the call.
"It is an intensely personal situation for many people,” said Sgt. Wightman. “They don't seek help, and it's very difficult to get them help."
Russell said, “So many people gave so much for us; it's a chance for us to give back to them."
Orange added, "It's good for everybody in the community to come together and realize how much vets do for us."
The message is: no matter what you're going through, you don't have to go through it alone.
Veterans crisis line (Telephone: 800-273-8255, press 1... Text: 838255)