Every hour of every single day a military veteran dies by suicide. That's 22 deaths A DAY after these vets served and protected our country. Experiencing the horrors of battle and struggling with PTSD makes suicide such a big contagion among ex-military members.

One very special man, James Brereton of Manasquan, who served 22 years in the military, has come close to suicide himself, but was able to decide that he would not be the 23rd victim that day. He has, instead, become an inspiration and has devoted himself to helping others who come home and fall into a deep, dark place. James has made it his mission to save lives.

James is part of a foundation called I Am 23 which is doing its best to spread the word among veterans that there are ways to SURVIVE and have a good life, and that they are not alone and there is so much help available from other vets who have found a way to move forward in life.

I Am 23 shares stories of soldiers suffering from PTSD that have maintained a positive attitude through tough times, have triumphed over their problems, and have risen out of the fire:
"They were driven, not by the negative circumstances, but by the positive hope each possessed. They ignored the excuse to think negatively but accepted the responsibility to move positively with determination. You can be inspiring also.
Connect deeply with your hope. Trust that you can go through the negative without being negative. Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams. Remember, a problem is a chance for you to do your best and to strengthen who you are. Tap into your greatness and your internal inspiration to succeed beyond the problem.
You are not your problems. You are not your disappointments.
The struggles you face today do not define you. What does define you is your attitude toward them. You must approach problems and disappointments as just challenges. Approach them with positive determination to overcome them. To possess that positive determination, you must look and see clearly beyond the problem. Be inspired by the hope beyond the problem and you will be determined to go beyond your problems.
It’s time we change the narrative."

James Brereton served in the Marines, Army, and Army Special Operations Command in places like Iraq and Afghanistan for 22 years. Like so many who come home after serving, he understands the darkness and isolation that can overcome someone who is no longer surrounded by their comrades. Feeling like no one understands, grieving the loss of military life and missing those you lost in battle and those who became like brothers and sisters who knew you best but are no longer part of your day to day life.

James is a survivor but faced many demons that he had to overcome. Now he is working with I Am 23 to tell fellow vets about some really incredible, innovative, alternative ways they can get help that they won't necessarily find with traditional therapies and medicines. Including a very special ranch called Operation: Warriors Path.

To meet James and his service dog Bernie, you might never know the extent of what this man went through year after year to protect our country, our freedom, and our safety. You might never know that this beautiful man, who smiles and laughs now, could have come so close to taking his own life.

He is living, breathing proof that life is worth living.

Let's all not only take a moment to give thanks to all who have served our country and continue to do so every day, but let's find a way to spread the word about I Am 23 and remind veterans that they are important and irreplaceable.They have stories to tell. They can help others. Let's tell them there are fellow veterans out there who have been where they are and can inspire them to have a life worth living.

For more info on how you can help, support, and spread the word about I AM 23, CLICK HERE.

And for their Facebook page, CLICK HERE.

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