22-24 Veterans Commit Suicide Everyday
The President and Founder of 22 Until Valhalla is a Marine Corps Infantry veteran who served in 2nd Battalion 1st Marine Division from 2007 to 2011. He deployed to Al Anbar Province in Iraq 2009 and Helmand Province, Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011. Receiving his Honorable Discharge in October of 2011.
In January 2013, Zach "Guff" McGuffey decided to take his own life after drinking heavily and battling with his symptoms and suicidal thoughts from his PTSD and TBI. Fortunately, his purposeful attempt to roll his truck and end his life was unsuccessful. 11 months later on December 5th, 2013, his best friend and Marine brother, Brandon Robinson, committed suicide. Guff immediately drove to North Carolina where his Marine brother Brandon Robinson lived and died after his return home from the Marine Corps.
During Guff's time in North Carolina, he took care of Brandon's family, attended his funeral, and was surrounded by Brandon's belongings. This is when Guff started to fully realize the missing links within the VA, the harsh reality of veteran PTSD and suicide, and the changes that needed to be made within the veteran community.
After returning home and spending the next year recovering from the loss of his closest Marine brother, Guff decided he had to do something to help end this epidemic and make positive changes. Not only within himself, but within the veteran community. He began a mission to end veteran suicide, which led to the creation of 22 Until Valhalla in November 2014.
22 Until Valhalla now has 5 board members, legal council, a grant writer, full 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, partnerships with other non profit groups, seven children with college scholarships, national speaking events, and a merchandise line.
What We're Doing about it
We don't make you do anything you don't want to do. There are creative ways to work through PTSD and depression. We partner with many other veteran non-profits, so the possibilities are endless. We provide crisis relief when you need someone to talk to. We can get you outside to climb mountains or go kayaking. You can learn about holistic healing such as float tank therapy and meditation. The bottom line is, we are here for you, no matter what you need.
For Veterans' Families
Some veterans are not able to conquer their battle. That leaves an impact on everyone that knew and loved that veteran. Suicide means leaving spouses, children, and family behind. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, "Losing a parent to suicide makes children more likely to die by suicide themselves and increases their risk of developing a range of major psychiatric disorders." Our organization is committed to helping those families that have lost a beloved veteran to suicide. We provide scholarships, outdoor events, and support to those that need someone to talk to.