Organization Helps Vets Find Camaraderie
Have you ever heard active-duty military members or veterans say, "I've got your six?" Do you know what they mean?
Many don't. And some folks who know that it means "I've got your back" aren't sure about the history behind it.
The saying originated during the first World War. Fighter pilots referenced the rear of an airplane as the six o'clock position.
On the battlefield, your "six" is your most vulnerable part – what you can't see. And where your fellow pilots need to focus in order to protect you. "I've got your six" is a term military members use to indicate they are watching out for each other.
Therapeutic Adventures Designed With a Purpose
And it's exactly what Andy William (Founder) and James Urban (President) had in mind when they re-launched IGY6; in 2020.
It's a nonprofit organization. They build camaraderie among the veteran community through therapeutic adventures.
One of the group's main goals is to attempt to put a dent in the number of suicides among the U.S. veteran population. Approximately 22 U.S. veterans take their own lives every day.
Andy and James believe the adventures this organization provides help veterans regain a purpose. And bond with other vets. Many of whom share their issues of loneliness and despair.
Void Leads to Foundation Launch
"What we veterans miss is the camaraderie – brotherhood and sisterhood – after we complete our service," Andy said.
"Unfortunately, the fight is not always left on the battlefield. We have to overcome daily struggles. From physical to mental to just needing someone to relate to.
"It's a void that is left in our lives after the service. That's the void that influenced me to establish this foundation."
IGY6; was originally launched in 2017. Two years later it became a registered nonprofit organization.
Most of the IGY6; members are based in America. But some live in Germany, Serbia, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Members include active military, veterans, government contractors, emergency responders and law enforcement.
Every Character Has Meaning
Andy explained the name of his organization. As well as the reason for the semicolon after "IGY6" and the logo color scheme.
"When an author writes a sentence and is at the point of ending it, but wants to continue, they use a semicolon," Andy said. "It creates a pause. Almost like a thought or reconsideration of the cessation of a sentence. Or, in this case, your life.
"The letters have a color as well as the number 6 and the semicolon. They also carry meanings. The letters "I," "G" and "Y" are in black, for the heavy hearts many of us carry. The number "6" is in red as a symbol of the blood that has been shed.
"The semicolon is teal, as a symbol of PTSD Awareness. So when you combine it altogether, it is a way of saying that if you are thinking about taking your life, pause. It is not time to end it. I've got your back and will help you through it and stand by your side."
Three Adventures in 2021
IGY6; began its therapeutic adventures in 2021, conducting three over a nine-month period. The events were:
Shark Swimming. "We took four veterans and one firefighter to free swim with sharks off the coast of East Florida. Thanks to Calypso Dive Charters," Andy said.
Skydiving. "We took four veterans and one active-duty member to jump out of an airplane from 18,000 feet. Thanks to Jump Florida in Lake Wales."
Survival Training. "We took three veterans, one former firefighter and one former correctional officer for three days/two nights to Hastings, Florida. They learned how to survive in the forest with almost nothing. Thanks to North Florida Survival."
In 2022, two therapeutic adventures were planned with more on the way. A Catch & Cookout Chartered Fishing Trip was held March 11-13 in Tampa, Florida. A Whitewater Rafting Trip will be held June 3-5 in Banner Elk, North Carolina.
Survival Training Event
The organization's recent Survival Training event included activities such as learning how to build shelters from natural materials. And making fire with primitive tools. Plus identifying edible plants and wildlife. As well as finding and purifying water, and signaling for rescue.
For this final event, my buddy Frank donated 7 of his Patriot Pure Personal Water Filters so participants could have safe drinking water throughout the activity.
There was also instruction in thermoregulation. Plus basic bush-crafting, weaving and mental survival.
"We had all types of hurdles to overcome for this event," Andy said. "From surgically repaired knees to arthritis and obesity to sleep apnea.
"But all of our participants made it through the training. And the life-changing stories we heard following this and other events have been absolutely astounding.
"Everyone was very appreciative of 4Patriots' generous donation of Personal Water Filters. And we thank you."
This is all thanks to you and your support of 4Patriots and Patriot Health Alliance. We couldn't make donations like this without your help.