Veteran Tristan Wimmer memorializes his fallen brothers and sisters with 22 BASE jumps
“Hopefully folks understand what we’re focused on and hopefully help us move the ball down the field.”
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — When Tristan Wimmer lost his brother Kiernan, an Iraq war veteran to suicide, he was inspired to bring awareness to the fact that over 6,000 American veterans take their own lives each year.
Today Wimmer BASE jumped the Perrine Bridge 22 times, in honor of the up to 22 veterans who take their lives each day.
Wimmer, a veteran himself knows how difficult leaving war is, and wants to use his platform to encourage his brothers and sisters-in-arms to not face this challenge alone.
“I’m not saying this from a standpoint of righteousness,” said Wimmer,” I’m saying it from experience, but there are some things in life you just need help with. Traumatic brain injuries, suicidal ideation, mental health crisis, moral injuries, these are things that we all need help with, in times of need.”
Money raised by this event was donated to Cohen Veterans Bioscience Project, a foundation studying the link between trauma and suicide, especially among the armed forces.
“Much of our efforts here are really trying to unmask what may be behind a lot of these veteran suicides,” said Frank Larkin of the Bioscience Project. “We strongly believe that there may be a biological connection to injury that then manifests itself into some of the behavioral struggles that we see many of our veterans struggling with every day.”
Larkin added that the impact of these deaths is far more widespread than meets the eye.
“For every veteran suicide it’s estimated that it affects 130 other people, so this is something that we have to deal with. This is why we’re here today, 22 jumps, hopefully, folks understand what we’re focused on and hopefully help us move the ball down the field.”
Savannah Slagel, a student at Canyon Ridge High School coordinated the event for her senior project. She said she is planning to enlist when she graduates and hopes she can help start a conversation about this epidemic.
“It’s very empowering to do something bigger than yourself and I enjoy helping others,” said Slagel. “I would want this help if I come out and have experienced TBI or PTSD. I would want to come out and have people helping.”
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