Gym, veterans support group team up to provide access to unique outlet
June 25, 2018 09:14 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The story is similar for many combat veterans.
Returning to a normal life after being deployed can be a challenge for them, including Michael Shaffer.
"While I spent 10 years in the Army, (I) deployed to Iraq in 2006, 2007, and it was hard to get into anything," Shaffer said. "I felt out of place."
For some veterans, exercise provides an outlet.
Rocky Ramirez teaches martial arts, which can be a form of therapy for veterans.
"You can see it when they come to class that a lot of them are down or suffering from depression that day, and that's why they come to jujitsu—it kind helps them get out of that," Ramirez said.
Inside his West Side gym, some begin to see a change that's been elusive.
"When I came home for a while, it's like I was looking for a fight. Versus (when I) started doing this, it's kind of the opposite effect; you don't want to do that at all because you do this all week," Shaffer said.
But not all vets can afford the kind of help Ramirez provides, why is why he's partnered up with Mission 22, an organization that provides support and raises money for programs and activities with the goal of lowering the number of veteran suicides.
"There's going to be another generation of warriors coming," a video on the organization's website states. "We can set the tone and create a culture that grabs them up and smothers them with resources and opportunity right now."
Ramirez said he hopes he can reach those warriors in the community who are struggling with their own battles and looking for a brotherhood.
Updated: June 25, 2018 09:14 AM
Created: June 25, 2018 08:30 AM
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