Alarmed by statistics showing 22 veterans a day or about 8,000 a year ending their own lives as a result of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Knights of Columbus Council 7091 of Cypress Gardens donated $500 to 22Zero Follow Me, Inc., a Winter Haven-based charity dedicated to helping military veterans overcome (PTSD).
Grand Knight Sal Porta presented a check to Daniel Jarvis, executive director of 22Zero, during a K of C meeting in the parish center at St. Matthew Church in Winter Haven. The knights authorized this grant after an inspiring talk by Jarvis in which he articulated actions being taken by 22Zero to get military veterans and first responders suffering from PTSD proper treatment before resorting to taking their own lives.
“According to Veterans Administration statistics, military veterans are 22 percent more likely to commit suicide compared to civilian adults in the United States,” Jarvis said, adding that first responders, including law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians also suffer from a high rate of suicide.
The K of C donation will go to Zero22’s Provider Expansion Program which recruits and trains therapists, counselors, psychologists and social workers to become certified and licensed in Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) and Reconsolidating of Traumatic Memories Protocol (RTM), two promising new therapies for treating PTSD.
22Zero also has a Bridge Builder Program that connects at-risk veterans and first responders with ART and RTM-certified and licensed therapists. RTM was created in the aftermath of 9/11 by Frank Bourke, a New York clinical psychologist who assisted Jarvis in launching 22Zero and helps train the therapists he recruits. Bourke will be in Winter Haven February 27 to March 2 to lead 22Zero’s next round of training.
Previous 22Zero training sessions in Orlando attracted therapists from all over Central Florida, including Polk County. Porta, who attended an Orlando session as an observer, said the experience convinced him of Jarvis’ “genuine and total commitment to saving the lives of veterans and first responders.”
Jarvis, who joined the U.S. Army after graduating from Winter Haven High School in 1988, experienced PTSD first hand as a result of a battlefield incident in 2011 in which a roadside bomb killed a member of a squad he was leading and inflicted serious on him. This occurred while he was serving as a sergeant first class on one of multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
After trying many alternatives, including excessive alcohol use, to seek relief from the physical and mental anguish he was experiencing due to PTSD, Jarvis finally conquered it by completing the ART and RTM therapies in 2017. This led him to form 22Zero Follow Me as a vehicle to fulfill a commitment he made to himself to make these therapies available to at-risk veterans and first responders everywhere.
Porta encourages other service organizations in the greater Winter Haven/Polk County area to learn more about 22Zero, ART and RTM by inviting Jarvis to speak at their meetings. Jarvis can be contacted to arrange a speaking engagement by calling 863-221-6304 or sending an e-mail to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.