22 + Heroes Projects, a Nonprofit for Suicide Awareness, Holds Food and Live Music Event

22 + Heroes Projects, a Nonprofit for Suicide Awareness, Holds Food and Live Music Event

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By: Jen Russon

A nonprofit focused on preventing suicide of former and active military and emergency responders is having a fundraiser on November 20, featuring a barbecue and live music.

The 22 + Heroes Project, founded in February, is headquartered in Margate. The group is on a mission to help law enforcement officers (LEOs) and first responders struggling with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

The CDC and other organizations that study suicide rates among this high-risk group show LEO and emergency workers are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty. 

The 2019 study also found between 17% and 24% of public safety telecommunicators have symptoms of PTSD, with almost a quarter of those who participated in the study suffering from depression.

Paul Kunder, a resident of Coral Springs and one of the founding members of 22 + Heroes, said he’s not surprised.

“Certainly, we have a number of LEOs on board. But don’t forget other first responders are affected as well.  There’s a heavy cross over from military to first responders,” he said. 

Kudner said his nonprofit is designed to support those left behind after suicide; for example, when Lieutenant John Graham of Hollywood was found dead in October, his suicide devastated family and friends, leaving many to wonder if mental health resources could have made a difference.

22 + Heroes’ members live in cities throughout South Florida, including Margate and Parkland. The men are active and retired federal agents, military, medical and construction workers, and, of course, police.

They encourage everyone nearby communities to come out for the food and fun this November; 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, its Children’s Group, and the Lutz Foundation.

For $20, guests can enjoy a pulled pork sandwich, baked beans and coleslaw, beer, and a single cigar. Activities include a live country music band, comedy show, and speakers from the New York City Honor Guard. Pay in person at the event on Saturday, November 20, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

The Suicide Prevention Fundraiser will be held at 7328 Royal Palm Boulevard in Margate.

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Author Profile

Jen Russon

Jen Russon
Jen Russon has been a staff writer for Talk Media since 2018. She is also a novelist, copywriter and editor at Swallow Publishing, LLC.

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