April PTSD Veteran Suicide Awareness Mission at Buttonwillow Raceway a Big Success
On April 17, 2021, the VetsRally4Vets team completed its first PTSD awareness mission at Buttonwillow Raceway. The event was described as a huge success by the organization whose stated goal is to raise the awareness of the role that PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) plays in veteran suicide and to point veterans to resources that can help stop the chain of depression. A blog article that talks more about why this important event was a success can be seen here at https://vetsrally4vets.com/2021/04/19/vetsrally4vets-campaigns-for-ptsd-awareness-at-buttonwillow-raceway/.
VetsRally4Vets founder Robert Hess is an Army veteran and PTSD survivor. Said Hess, “I know how difficult it is to talk with someone about these experiences. My big breakthrough came when a military psychologist made me write a history of all the actions in my two Vietnam tours. I don't know exactly why, but that exercise lifted a huge emotional weight from me. My goal with the VetsRally4Vets program is to add to the PTSD dialogue and help veterans connect with the available support programs.”
According to the VetsRally4Vets founder, it was a big thrill to drive their organization's sponsored car in the SCCA National Time Trial Tour event that was held at Buttonwillow Raceway Park located in Buttonwillow, CA. That is with the possible exception of him taking their number 378 car on an ill-advised spin into the dirt on the raceway's famous Cotton Corners section. Their 1997 M Edition NA Miata car was prepared for the event by Just Driven of Orange, California. They did such retrofits as upgrading the suspension and putting on wider and more suitable racing tires. He added that they ran the race with the car’s original 1.8-liter engine that had some 234,782 miles on it which is a testimony to the Miata’s durability. Hess failed to reveal his finishing position but said the most important aspect of them being in the race was that the car was branded all over with the DVEN/PTSD awareness message.
Hess said that they felt the event definitely contributed to bringing more awareness to the PSTD-related suicide link. That’s why they will be looking to enter the car into another event that takes place in October of this year called the Top Dog Trophy Challenge. This fun inter-service military motorsports competition to bring awareness to veteran suicide will be held at Summit Point Raceway in Summit Point, WV on Oct 10th, 2021. Those interested in signing up for the event can do so by going to the VetsRally4Vets website. More about the event can also be seen on this organization's LinkedIn page here at https://www.linkedin.com/company/68945343/admin/.
The VetsRally4Vets founder went on to say that they like to bring attention to PSTD-related suicides because an average of 22 veterans and active-duty military personnel take their own lives every day. That adds up to a life being lost every 65 minutes a day and a staggering 8030 active duty or former military men and women that are lost every year. He stated that the saddest thing about these unacceptable figures is that many of these deaths are preventable if only these PTSD sufferers had been made aware of the many resources that the Veterans Administration and many private organizations have put in place to help. That includes the Disabled Veteran Empowerment Network (DVEN) which has compiled an extensive list of PTSD resources for those active duty service members and veterans that need help. Hess says this sister organization is so actively involved in helping those suffering from PTSD because it impacts disabled service members in large numbers. Some of the organizations that are found on DVEN’s list of PTSD resources include the Open Path Psychotherapy Collective, Cohen’s Veteran Network, and the National Veterans Foundation. Also, on DVEN’s list of PTSD resources are the National Center for PTSD, National Alliance on Mental Health, and Give an Hour. More on how active duty service members and veterans can get help managing their PTSD and get the necessary counseling to help them off the edge can be seen here at https://dven.org/ptsd/.
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