Beast Code Community: Combating Veteran Suicide
Note: Beast Code is a proud partner & sponsor of Healing Paws for Warriors, for which this event is benefiting.
Twenty-two veterans commit suicide each day, according to a U.S Department of Veteran Affairs study.
Though he isn’t a mathematician, U.S. Army veteran Geoff Speyrer is trying his best to do some significant subtraction to that number.
On May 22, Speyrer will complete his second SET 22 Challenge to raise awareness for veteran suicide, and raise money to benefit Healing Paws for Warriors, a local nonprofit organization that trains and pairs service dogs with combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Military Sexual Trauma (MST). HP4Ws does this at no cost to the veteran and uses dogs from local shelters — thus potentially saving two lives with one act.
Speyrer is all too aware of the startling suicide statistics; he almost became a part of them.
“The tough truth about this is in the time it takes me to do the SET 22 Challenge, 22 veterans will take their lives,” Speyrer stated. “Look, this isn’t for fun. It’s hard, and it will wreck my body. But there’s a very worthy purpose and cause, and that’s why we do this. Sometimes when the uniform comes off, we (combat veterans) lose purpose. Let’s help them.”
Speyrer discovered Healing Paws for Warriors through a birthday fundraiser on Facebook.
“I looked at their mission, and I was immediately sold. Something I believe in firmly is that we all need purpose in our life. I feel like Healing Paws does that for our veterans,” he said. “I was very impressed. Veterans telling me their stories … and I know how PTSD and TBI can keep a person in a very anxious state where you don’t want to be around anyone. And then I see everyone out and working with their pups. I knew I wanted to help support them going forward.”
For the SET (strength, endurance and training) event, Speyrer will complete a 100-mile bicycle route, a 26.2-mile run/walk, and then flip a 200-pound tire for one mile (about 600 tire flips – without gloves) in 24 hours.
No stranger to enduring pain, Speyrer suffered brain injuries from percussion blasts during his 18-month tour of duty in Iraq. He was an elite gunman in the U.S. Army on an EOD security escort detail responsible for creating 300-meter safety zone to prevent the bomb-diffusing team from being ambushed. He developed compartment syndrome from medication for TBI & PTSD and nearly lost his leg, which led to multiple muscle amputations and a titanium rod being inserted. The events also left him with night terrors and thoughts of suicide that led to two attempts at taking his own life.
He got help that saved his life and has given him a new purpose. Now, Speyrer uses his memories and experiences as lessons for himself, and as a source of inspiration and encouragement to others — particularly his fellow veteran brothers and sisters.
Speyrer’s SET 22 Challenge will begin as Friday, May 21 transitions into Saturday, May 22 at midnight with the National Anthem at Harbor Tavern in Destin and cycle/run/walk through Destin and Miramar Beach. He will finish with the tire flip at the Destin Elementary track for a very specific reason.
“There is a flag out there, and that flag helps me tie into why (I’m doing this). It’s a constant visual reminder of the love I have for my country and the people in it. I’m truly grateful and humbled to be able to do this, to move my body and to be able to help others.”
For additional details about the event or the specific route & locations, visit https://beast-code.com/news/posts/enduring-pain-wounded-warriors-gain. For details from the organizer and how to donate & get involved, visit https://www.healingpawsforwarriors.org/set22.