U.S. Army veteran George Tice is back on the frontline with a mission of his own. He is biking 480 miles from Ft. Myers to the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee for post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide awareness.
Tice is biking 1,000 hours to raise awareness and funds for veterans who suffer from PTSD and suicide in the military. Tice was diagnosed with PTSD in 1992 after serving in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1986 to 1991. He served in Operation Desert Storm – a codename for the Gulf War – from 1990 to 1991.
“In 1992 when I came home, I started having nightmares and flashbacks of how I got into a crash in Desert Storm,” Tice said.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Signs of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, feelings of detachment, irritability, trouble concentrating and sleeplessness.
The 10-day ride began Oct. 27 at the American Legion Post 38 in Ft. Myers and was scheduled to end at the Florida State Capitol on Nov. 5. Community leaders held a ceremony in Tice’s honor the morning he departed.
“From 2009 to this year, 76,000 of our men and women who served have been diagnosed with PTSD,” Tice said. “And every 24 hours or less, a military person will take his or her own life.”
Tice wants to ensure that military veterans get the assistance they need when they call crisis helplines. He is pushing for a response team that will meet face to face with distressed veterans within three hours of their call.
“It’s a lot easier for a veteran to talk about their problems with someone face to face,” Tice said.”I had a weapon to my head back in 1992, but as you can see, I didn’t pull the trigger.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline places callers on hold as the call is routed to the closet crisis center to the caller in the network. Skilled and trained crisis workers listen to callers’ problem and inform them of nearby mental health services. The call is confidential and free.
The U.S. Department of Defense reported 15 potential suicides in September. One is a confirmed suicide, while the other 14 remain under investigation. In August, it reported 16 potential suicides. Five were confirmed as suicides and the remaining are pending investigation.
During his ride, Tice received a call from his wife that informed him of her medical issues, which required immediate surgical attention. Tice quickly returned to her side and will continue his ride after her health improves.
For more information on Tice and PTSD, visit Vvtsride4ptsd.us or call 239-738-0601. For more information on suicide, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website at suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).