Ride to Zero thun­ders through town to raise vet­eran sui­cide aware­ness

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Karen L. Wil­loughby

SPRINGVILLE – About 20 vet­er­ans a day in the United States com­mit sui­cide, ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment of Vet­eran Af­fairs.More than half – 65 per­cent – are 50 or older, pre­dat­ing the cur­rent war in the Mid­dle East.

More than half – 65 per­cent – are 50 or older, pre­dat­ing the cur­rent war in the Mid­dle East.

“We’re try­ing to raise aware­ness,” Howard Drury told Serve Daily. Drury is spokesman for the Utah chap­ter 49-1 of the Com­bat Vets Mo­tor­cy­cle As­so­ci­a­tion. “We’re try­ing to raise $30,000 with this event.”

The Com­bat Vets group, which is not a mo­tor­cy­cle club – it’s a sup­port or­ga­ni­za­tion for vet­er­ans – gath­ered about 300 mo­tor­cy­cles at Leg­ends Mo­tor­cy­cle in Springville Satur­day, Aug. 26, for the kick­off of the third an­nual Ride to Zero, which in pre­vi­ous years started from a park in River­ton, Utah.

“Rick Sal­is­bury, the owner of Leg­ends Mo­tor­cy­cle, in­vited us,” Drury said. The spa­cious paved park­ing lot in front of Leg­ends was filled by mid-morn­ing with leather-clad mo­tor­cy­clists and their

bikes, which kept in­creas­ing in num­ber as the clock tick-tocked to the 2 p.m. pre­sen­ta­tion of The Colors – achieved with mil­i­tary pre­ci­sion – and open­ing re­marks.

Pre­lim­i­nar­ies done, the mo­tor­cy­clists, led by “John Wayne,” com­man­der of the Utah Chap­ter 49-1 Com­bat Vets Mo­tor­cy­cle As­so­ci­a­tions, made a two-hour swoop around Utah Lake, end­ing at Leather­heads sports bar in Draper for a 6 p.m. con­cert head­lined by Amer­i­can Hit Band.

The $34,000 raised – ex­ceed­ing the goal of $30,000 – is to help the Na­tional Cen­ter for Vet­er­ans Stud­ies fund its re­search into the ef­fects of what so far ap­pears to be un­prece­dented suc­cess in treat­ing the PTSD that is a fore­run­ner to sui­cide, Drury said.

PTSD – post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der – in­cludes four types of symp­toms: re­liv­ing the event; avoid­ing sit­u­a­tions that re­mind you of the event; neg­a­tive changes in be­liefs and feel­ings; and feel­ing keyed up, ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs. The VA sug­gests “you should seek help” if the symp­toms last longer than three months, if they cause you great stress or if they dis­rupt your work or home life, ac­cord­ing to the web­site.ptsd.va.gov.

“The chap­ter com­man­der and the XO both had lost fel­low mem­bers to sui­cide,” Drury said. “This is per­sonal for them. They talked with Dr. [Craig] Bryan, direc­tor of the Na­tional Cen­ter for Vet­er­ans Stud­ies, and he told them he’s try­ing to get the DOD [Depart­ment of De­fense] to pick up the cost of the re­search.

“We feel what Dr. Bryan is try­ing to do is im­por­tant,” Drury con­tin­ued. “It’s work that needs to be done.”

The Na­tional Cen­ter for Vet­er­ans Stud­ies de­vel­oped in 2010 at the Univer­sity of Utah as a re­sult of a con­ver­sa­tion in the So­cial Sci­ences depart­ment, Bryan told Serve Daily. The core of four peo­ple has now grown to nearly 30 stu­dent vol­un­teer re­searchers.

“We have de­vel­oped the only in­ter­ven­tion proven to pre­vent sui­cide in the mil­i­tary, up to 76 per­cent,” Bryan said. “We’ve tested new ways to make it [in­ter­ven­tion] faster, bet­ter.

“In the last year, 50 ser­vice mem­bers and vet­er­ans have gone through this,” the psy­chol­o­gist and re­searcher said. “We’ve shown that with this in­ter­ven­tion, we can cure PTSD in two weeks.”

A cure is de­ter­mined by a re­searcher in­ter­view­ing the PTSD re­search par­tic­i­pant be­fore­hand, and, fol­low­ing the twoweek treat­ment, an out­go­ing in­ter­view con­ducted by an in­de­pen­dent as­ses­sor.

The do­na­tions and regis­tra­tion fees for the Ride to Zero will help fund the next stage of the re­search, Bryan said. Ad­di­tional do­na­tions would help, the psy­chol­o­gist/re­searcher added.

Ac­tive mil­i­tary and vet­er­ans deal­ing with PTSD are in­vited to be­come re­search par­tic­i­pants. There is no cost ex­cept that of get­ting to and from Park City, where the in­ter­ven­tion takes place.

“We don’t want any vet­eran to have to pay,” said Dianna Her­rmann, Bryan’s ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant. “They’ve al­ready paid with their ser­vice to the coun­try.”

For more in­for­ma­tion email NCVS@ Utah.Edu or call Dr. Bryan’s of­fice at 801.587.7978.

Mem­bers of the Com­bat Vets Group salute at the Ride to Zero rally. Photo: Steve Par­sons

Photo: Steve Par­sons

At least 300 mo­tor­cy­cles par­tic­i­pated in the Aug. 26 Ride to Zero that was staged at Leg­ends Mo­tor­cy­cles.

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