Submitted by Kianna Chevalier
Tomorrow marks National PTSD Awareness Day, a day for us to remember our veterans who come back with invisible injuries. Sadly, more than 20 veterans a day commit suicide from PTSD. Army CPT (ret.) Tyler Merritt – CEO of Nine Line Apparel – believes that, as a country, we must do more to help our heroes reintegrate back into civilian life and cope with the horrors of war. His talking points:
I recently lost a close friend and employee to this disease. If we are going to continue to send our nation’s men and women abroad, it is our duty to ensure that they are properly cared for upon their return. Not all wounds are visible, and it is time the VA puts real effort to addressing this.
In addition to changes to the VA, there also needs to be more community engagement. Programs to help veterans find jobs and support groups are key to helping our soldiers reintegrate back into civilian society. By removing these stresses, they can focus more on recovery.
Coming back from war is never easy and every soldier’s story is unique to him or her. It takes a supportive and loving family and community to help a soldier recover from that. On this PTSD Awareness Day, I hope that we as a nation can recommit ourselves to giving back to our heroes and standing up for our veterans who put their lives on the line standing tall for us.
Founded in 2012 by and Army Captain and his wife, Nine Line Apparel is a patriotic lifestyle brand. The company is a start-up primarily owned, run, and employed by veterans. They are currently running a shirt design titled “22 A Day” to bring attention to this issue.
Nine Line is also partnering with 3rd-Generation NASCAR Driver Jeffrey Earnhardt to raise money for homeless veterans. Jeffrey and Nine Line are raising money to build a transitional housing community for homeless veterans in the Savannah area, providing not only housing, but also job training to help them break free of the cycle of homelessness.
CPT Tyler Merritt is the owner and co-founder of Nine Line Apparel. Merritt is a former Apache Helicopter Pilot turned Special Operations Air Mission Commander. CPT Merritt has deployed multiple times to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Arabian Peninsula, and South America. He previously served as a West Point faculty member.