A Battle Won by Handshakes, by Marine and author Lucas Dyer, has been making great strides since its publication. Here, Lucas talks about his book in relation to Project 22, an endeavor he has participated in to assist veterans who have returned from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
When was Project 22 started? And who started it?
Project 22 is a 2014 documentary created and directed by two combat veterans, Daniel Egbert and Matt “Doc” King.
What was the inspiration behind starting such an interesting project?
Project 22 was a 22-day, 6,500-mile motorcycle awareness campaign from San Francisco to New York City to raise awareness of the rate of suicides daily by military veterans. Currently, approximately 22 veterans a day commit suicide. The involvement with me and my book, A Battle Won by Handshakes, ties in on several levels. The primary connection is the veteran status we all share. Each of us has a story of combat, and each of us have dealt with our experiences differently. Mine was writing — a natural, self-healing, therapeutic method to express myself and what I experienced. The other connection is in the support for their project. I saw a screening of Project 22 for the first time on August 26, 2015 and I was touched by their efforts, dedication, and the brotherhood they developed raising awareness for this little-known epidemic.
You’ve said that “Project 22 addresses the issues of coping with combat stress, PTSD, and decreasing the suicide rate of Veterans”. Can you go into detail on how this is implemented? What are the procedures, therapies, etc?
The intent of Project 22 and how it is implemented is the quest to search for natural remedies and life-saving alternatives to bring the suicide rate down. Commonly, depression, PTSD, or combat stress is dealt with by medication. Take these pills to bring your smile back, take these pills to mask the pain, and add a few more pills to cover up the pain from the memories you are reliving. This method has proven not to work; rather, it is only getting worse. Others ways to find the path of happiness that Project 22 explores are writing, music, painting, holistic options and true honest communication with others who are going through similar experiences.
How is Project 22 being funded?
Project 22 was entirely crowd-funded via an IndieGoGo campaign and private donations. In addition, the crew was offered food, lodging and assistance wherever they rode, helping keep production costs low. Project 22, a Medicinal Missions production, is fiscally sponsored by From The Heart Productions, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Will the information acquired during Project 22 be used for any further research or programs to help future veterans re-assimilate? If so, what have been some of the most valuable things that you have learned?
In the Marines, and I am sure throughout the military, there is a saying that we are “one team, one fight”. The common understanding is that two is one, and one is none. This means that we never go alone, always with our brothers or sisters. So too often when we leave the military, we leave that brotherhood. Project 22 reconnects us and opens that door again.
If you would to learn more about Project 22 please visit http://medicinalmissions.com/. If you would like to host a screening at your local movie theater, please visit https://www.tugg.com/event_requests/new and fill out the form. Thank you, iUniverse for your dedication and your support for military veterans. Semper Fi!