To increase both awareness and action surrounding veterans suicide, RP/6 is hosting Refuse to Lose, an afternoon of outreach, film, and discussion. The event brings together other local organizations, community leaders, and veterans to address the issue while, more importantly, presenting solutions through discussion and resources.
During the event, veterans, service members, and community members will have the opportunity to attend a resource fair with organizations that offer therapeutic resources and support for veterans.
After the fair, there will be a free screening of “Project 22,” a movie created by two veterans as they made a 6,500 mile journey across the country in search of resources for those who are facing combat-related mental health issues. “Project 22” features in-depth interviews of veterans and healthcare providers. By doing so, the film demonstrates the power of openly discussing a difficult topic and highlights the strength in seeking help.
A post-screening discussion will be moderated by local veteran, Joe Willis. The discussion will offer community members the opportunity to respond to the film, share their own experiences, and engage with the issue. The panelists will include Boone Cutler, combat veteran, creator of the Spartan Pledge, and radio host of The Tipping Point with Boone Cutler, and BriGette McCoy, Founder and CEO of the Women Veteran Social Justice Network. Veterans will also have the opportunity to take the Spartan Pledge, a commitment among veterans to both stand for and reach out to their fellow soldiers amidst trying times.
The Spartan Sword
Veterans will have the opportunity to take the pledge before a national symbol of renewal after trauma – the Spartan Sword. The Spartan Sword was forged from 25 pounds of steel recovered from the World Trade Center. The idea for the sword was developed by retired Brooklyn fire fighter, Danny Price, and former Marine, Steve Danyluk. The two wanted to turn the steel remnants into a symbol of healing, and sent it to Texas, where veteran Shane Stainton, a blacksmith and bladesmith, created the Spartan Sword.
The sword resides in FDNY’s Ten House in downtown Manhattan. Ten House is the home of FDNY Engine 10, FDNY Ladder 10, and the FDNY Memorial Wall. The sword travels around the country to give veterans in different communities the opportunity to admire its meaning and take the Spartan Pledge before the Spartan Sword.
The Spartan Sword arrived at RP/6 today (Monday, October 17), and will reside at our center until Refuse to Lose this coming Saturday. Every night throughout the week, RP/6 team members have volunteered to maintain a 24-hour watch over the sword. On Saturday, the sword will be escorted from RP/6 to the event at Pierce College in Puyallup by five different motorcycle clubs: the Viet Nam Vets Legacy Vets MC, Armed Forces MC, Veterans Allegiance MC, Brothers In Arms MC, and Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.
Daily Updates of RP/6’s Spartan Sword Overnight Watch
Check in each day this week to read about our team members’ experiences during their overnight shifts.
Team Member: Katie – Frontline Families AmeriCorps Member
My evening with the Spartan Sword was incredibly moving. 9/11 shook my New Jersey hometown community to its core. Some of my most vivid childhood memories are from when I’d play hookie from school to go to work with my father. I’d get to spend the day taking in all the action on the trading floor, and sometimes, at the end of the day, I’d even get to take in the views at Windows on the World before we’d ride the train home. I could have never imagined that fifteen years later, I’d be standing nearly 3,000 miles away, holding a piece of the World Trade Center’s bones. There are few words to express my gratitude for those who have volunteered to serve our country since 9/11. Understanding the sword’s powerful impact on the veteran community as a symbol of strength, hope, and healing was deeply cathartic. It was an honor to watch over it last night.
Team Member: Patrick – Scout Fellow
As we first learned of the Spartan Pledge, and the sword, I was really excited about it. The Refuse to Lose event was still in the early planning stages, and our Scout, Nikki SnowKing, had been the one that brought up the sword. As the work was done to infuse the Spartan Pledge into the event and to get the sword here, we learned that it was coming in early. Initially, as a joke, I had mentioned keeping it here in the building under constant guard, like a fire guard or CQ shift. But after joking about it with Jeff, another Scout Fellow, we eventually caught wind that the sword is under 24/hour guard with the FDNY when it’s not in travel. It was then that I decided to be serious about it being under guard here. I feel that treating the sword with the same respect it gets at its home is important.
So here I am, alone, with nothing to do but catch up on work. After a while, I can’t help but begin to reflect on the symbolism of the sword and what the pledge represents. It’s easier to think of these things with no noise of the daily work that gets done to distract me. I’m proud to be part of this event, and happy to be one of the Guards.
Team Member: Cynthia – Scout
As soon as I learned of the Spartan Sword, what it was forged from and the story of its travels now among fellow Veterans and Americans alike, there was no doubt in my mind that I had to see it one day. That one day finally came. I needed to be a part of the 24 hour watch. The Guard part came naturally to me after serving for years. An honor to be done without question or explanation. Watching my son that night here at work, I thought back to another night. That night of 9/11, when I was on duty in Pearl Harbor, HI. I had been in service by then for 5 years. Much has changed since then. I have a family to guard and even more friends to check in on and with. Spending this one night standing Guard is just another way of doing it.