“The reason we started this nonprofit was that a second soldier from Frederick County, Army Specialist Adam Richardson, died by suicide. As a suicide survivor myself, and meeting my wife shortly after my attempt, we felt that enough was enough. No longer were we going to stand by idly as our nation’s war fighters fought the war at home alone. So, we created Platoon 22.
What we needed was a way to quickly engage the populace while at the same time conveying the enormity of this epidemic.
“So I thought what if we had 22 empty boots that we could take and set up at events around the region that would give a visual representation of how many veterans were dying by suicide every day. We create symbolism in this by having boots from every service branch. A lot of people don’t know this but the bulk of the suicides are Vietnam Veterans. To recognize this, the jungle boots of the Vietnam Veteran are in the platoon leader position in the formation. Very quickly what we found was when we started taking this memorial out on the road there was a visceral reaction from people that was lightening in a bottle. At that point we saw a monumental jump in people’s ability to understand what we were talking about, for it to resonate with them, and for us to gain better traction in waging this war.”
President and Co-Founder
U.S. Army Veteran