This Vet Is Raising Suicide Awareness By Riding Over 400 Miles — In His Wheelchair

Photo via Josh Geartz

Former Army military police Sgt. Josh Geartz is riding 422 miles to raise awareness about the 20 veterans who take their own lives every day, according to the latest Department of Veterans Affairs data. He chose 422 miles deliberately to represent the formerly held figure, which suggested that 22 veterans a day are lost to suicide.

But unlike other veterans who participate in similar treks, he isn’t running, or riding on a bicycle, or swimming. Instead, Geartz is riding in his wheelchair.

Geartz learned firsthand what it means to be a veteran battling suicidal ideation. After joining the Army in 1999, he was hit by an improvised explosive device in September 2003 while deployed in Iraq during the invasion. His injuries left him with partial paralysis in both legs, numerous blood clots, spinal stenosis, and after battling traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder for more than a decade, Geartz decided in 2014 that he did not want to live.

“Being one of the first guys coming back from the invasion in Iraq, the VA didn’t really know too much, and they didn’t know how to treat TBI,” Geartz told Task & Purpose. “You don’t want to reach out to your friends because you’re embarrassed about how you’re living, and that’s how I felt."

After one failed suicide attempt, Geartz considered a second.

“Everything was just so overwhelming,” Geartz told Newsmax. “It came to a point when I had to admit that I wasn’t able to care for myself or my son. That was the hardest thing that I ever had to do. I had been through countless therapies, programs and other treatments. Nothing seemed to help.”

Geartz credits two veteran service organizations, SongwritingWith:Soldiers and Team Red, White & Blue, with saving his life. “Fortunately, just in time, I found something that gave me reason to live,” Geartz explained on the crowdfunding page for his journey.

To pay it forward, Geartz riding his wheelchair in this 422-mile marathon along the Great Lakes from Indiana to New York while trying to drum up awareness about veteran suicide and raise money for the two organizations that gave him his life back.

The trek began on May 27 and will end June 25.

Geartz has a Google map with all the legs of his route tagged, and updates his “422 for 22” Facebook page daily to record his progress.

As for dealing with TBI and PTSD, Geartz said, “You’ve got to get uncomfortable. You have to take care of yourself if you want to be good to other people.”

(Updated June 7, 2016 at 10:32 a.m. EST)

The Veterans of Foreign Wars has demanded an apology from President Trump over recent comments in which he downplayed the seriousness of traumatic brain injuries suffered by American troops in an Iranian missile attack.

"The Veterans of Foreign Wars cannot stand idle on this matter," William "Doc" Schmitz, VFW National Commander, said in a statement Friday, noting TBI is a serious injury known to cause depression, memory loss, severe headaches and other symptoms in the short and long-term.

Read More
The submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) sits anchored at Ulithi Atoll, Dec. 7, 2019 (Navy photo/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Richard A. Miller)

The Navy is investigating dozens of videos of service members changing in a bathroom which were then shared on the website PornHub, according to a NBC News report.

According to the report, an agent from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service found the videos on PornHub earlier this month. The videos, which have since been taken down, show civilians, sailors and Marines, some of whom have visible name tapes.

Read More
U.S. Army/Jaerett Engeseth

We already knew that Army Rangers were a unique breed of badass, but performing real-time blood transfusions while under enemy fire on the battlefield takes it to an entirely new level.

Read More

An upcoming comedy show is boldly mocking what everyone else is, well, already mocking: The Space Force.

Read More