It is not possible to tell all the stories on the road, but one that needs to be broadcast is the story about the LCpl Janos V Lutz Live To Tell Foundation.
Janos (or Johnny as he is called by his mother Janine) was a Marine from Davie, Florida, deployed to Iraq & Afghanistan, returned home, and after being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), took his own life on Jan 12, 2013.
This devastating tragedy (being replayed at, on the average of one suicide per hour every day) would effectively end any hope of happiness that I would have for my life, but Janine has transformed this into a life-affirming program of suicide prevention by de-stigmatizing Post Traumatic Stress turning into from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder into Post Traumatic Growth.
What Janine and her small core of volunteers have done in such a short period of time is nothing short of remarkable and awe-inspiring. Visit their website at http://lcpllutzlivetotell.org/ for practical information to prevent veteran suicide and how to implement best practices for your local communities.
I also strongly recommend going to their Facebook page to see how a vibrant form of social media can be effective and empowering (‘Like’ them also).
It is estimated that PTS affects over 600,000 personnel since 9/11 and Janine’s 501(c)3 charity, LCpl Janos V Lutz Live To Tell Foundation is taking concrete steps to ensure that those at risk are identified and supported through a Buddy Up Program.
The town of Davie, Florida has embraced this charity with a proclamation naming Jan 12, 2013 The LCpl Janos V Lutz Live To Tell Day and sponsoring the PTS Awareness Day on that day. They have also donated the use of the Davie Women’s Club Facility one day per month for the Buddy Up program.
During our Remember, Recognize, & Rejoice Ceremony last Friday (Mar 14) at Davie Town Hall, I was particularly impressed by Mayor Judy Paul’s commitment & support of this and other veteran’s initiative. Mayor Paul’s actions show the model that other towns can follow to address this devastating problem.
Although many times we are reminded of what is wrong or lacking in the US, it is more important to realize the positive effect that two people can have in turning a tragedy into what will ultimately be a triumph.
So Janine & Judy, you have my sincere admiration and thanks for Giving Back to Those Who Served.