Iraq war veteran Zachary Sherman will be riding his Honda CB500X from Deadhorse, Alaska to Ushuaia Terro Del Fuego, Argentina to raise public awareness about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and raise money for The Soldiers Project, a nonprofit organization that provides free mental health services to Post 9/11 veterans.
Sherman’s route winds 9,484 miles through North, Central and South America. He will be participating in awareness raising events while in Seattle from September 13 – 14th, in Sacramento from September 23rd – 26th, and Los Angeles from September 29th – 30th. In each city he will meet with Soldiers Project Regional Chapter Directors and local therapists, who provide the free counseling services pro bono. Some of them may even hop on their own bikes and accompany him for part of his journey.
After serving with the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team in Iraq, Sherman was diagnosed with PTSD and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). After nearly losing his life due to mismanaged medications distributed through the Veterans Administration, he swore off care and entered a career in law enforcement. However, his career was cut short by the effects of his untreated PTSD. While nearly suicidal, he overcame his depression with community support; only to see 6 men from his former unit take their own lives.
Wanting to make a difference, Sherman researched veteran service providers until he came across The Soldiers Project. “The Soldiers Project provides free of charge counseling to post 9/11 service members, veterans, and their families. There isn’t a higher calling that I can think of,” writes Sherman on his Crowdrise page. “I wish that I had been aware of them before it cost me my career.” Sherman embarked on his journey on September 6th, and was interviewed by local news.
According to the latest research from the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 20 military veterans take their own lives every day in the US. Awareness of the issue is growing thanks to viral campaigns like the #22pushupchallenge, highlighting the need for improved access to mental health treatment.
“When a veteran suffers from PTSD or any other mental health consequence after separating from military service, it has a ripple effect,” says Soldiers Project Interim Executive Director Andrea Schmitt. “Spouses, partners and even children and friends can be affected. That’s why The Soldiers Project provides care not only to veterans but to their family members as well. This issue affects entire communities.”
The Soldiers Project provides free, confidential and unlimited mental health services to Post 9/11 military veterans and their families. Chapters are located across the U.S., including Seattle, Sacramento, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Houston. For more information or to get services, call Toll-Free: (877) 576-5343 or visit www.thesoldiersproject.org. To support Expedition Recovery, visit https://www.crowdrise.com/expedition-recovery.