It’s very sad to think that many veterans have thought about taking their own life. There are so many different reasons and struggles that they may be going through to get them to that point. That is why it is so important for awareness and suicide prevention programs to be available for our veterans.

U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua Geartz is able to walk very short distances, but struggles daily with pain and has dealt with thoughts of suicide. Now, in support of the approximately 22 veterans whose lives end to suicide each day, Geartz will ride his wheelchair 422 miles (22 miles a day) as part of his 422 For 22 fundraising campaign to raise awareness of the issue. Geartz is riding in honor of two veteran support organizations
Song writing with soldiers is the organization Geartz credits for helping save his life. Geartz, who received honorable discharge after serving in the U.S. Army as a military police officer from 1999-2004, was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) in September 2003. He sustained injuries including blood clots, spinal stenosis, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and partial paralysis in both legs.

"Everything was just so overwhelming,” said Geartz, who attempted to end his own life in 2014. “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.”

The ride will start on Saturday, May 27 in Angola, Ind., with plans of completion in 35 days Saturday, July 1. At the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.


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