September 11, 2022 (Camp Ripley, Minn.) – On Saturday mornings at Camp Ripley, Service members swarm the base, traveling from across the state, to attend their regular weekend drills. For most, training marks the start of their day.

On World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, a group of service members, friends, family and community members gathered quietly near the amphitheater at Camp Ripley to hear the story of an infantryman from the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armored Regiment.

“I found myself in Iraq and found out that the fight was not like in the John Wayne movie,” said Staff Sergeant. Joshua Guyse. “As the deployment continued, the things I did to cope, along with the things I started to bury, enabled me to survive in this environment.”

The crowd had gathered as part of the Power of One. The Power of One is a suicide awareness 5k during the month of September that represents that it only takes one person to watch someone.

“John Wayne has come home, hasn’t he?” They had a few drinks and life went on. John Wayne came home; he got the girl. I was going to get a divorce,” Guyse said. “[What] started in Iraq has only continued to soar.

Throughout the event, Service members learn about suicide awareness, addiction and resilience.

“One day, I decided that I had had enough. I found myself at midnight sitting in my jeep crying and said I couldn’t do this anymore. So, I came up with a plan,” Guyse said. “Out of the blue, a friend of mine from the Army called and said, ‘Hey man, let’s get some pie from Perkins. “”

The Power of One has been an annual event since 2016, with a short break during the global pandemic in 2020. This year’s theme is Connect to Protect: Help is at Hand.

“We are taking steps to normalize seeking help,” said Sgt. Maj. Jeanette Chaffee, resiliency risk reduction and suicide prevention NCO in charge of the Minnesota National Guard. “It shows that we are ok with the fact that you are not well.”

Guyse later explained how his family brought him to the VA and he agreed to spend the night under observation.

“I wasn’t full time,” Guyse said. “I’m an infantryman, we don’t talk about feelings as infantrymen.” I had to pick up the phone and call my unit to tell them what was going on. I was terrified of doing this, so I asked the nurse to do it for me.

What happened next was not what Guyse expected.

“All [the readiness noncommissioned officer says] is ‘what do you expect from me, what can I do to help you,’” Guyse said. “Within 20 minutes, my company commander is on the phone with me, ‘what do you expect from me, what can I do to help you.’ Five minutes after he called me, the company first sergeant is on the phone. And every day from that day on, one of those three people called me.

After the opening presentation, attendees were able to select a sign with the date of death of a member of the Minnesota National Guard, to wear in remembrance of them throughout the race.

“That moment in time doesn’t define you,” Guyse said. “Ask for help, fight the stigma every chance you get. We owe it to each other to take care of each other. It only takes one person to make an impact.

If you or someone you know is going through a crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 988 for the Veterans Crisis Line, dial 988 then press 1.

Date taken: 09.10.2022
Date posted: 09.11.2022 11:55
Story ID: 429011

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