By Josh Rizzo
My name is Josh Rizzo. I am a West Point graduate (class of 2002), combat veteran, and a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal. I deal with Post Traumatic Stress on a daily basis.
Post Traumatic Stress is confusing. It's not a broken bone, you don't know why you have certain feelings or issues. After dealing with PTSD on my own I realized it would be easier if I had a support group or someone to talk to. However, I wasn't comfortable talking face to face with others. I wanted to know that I wasn't alone but it was hard to talk about my past and current feelings with people that didn't understand or had never been through anything traumatic. Without finding something that worked for me, I founded an organization called PTSD United, which I serve in the capacity of Executive Director.
PTSD United hosts a free and completely anonymous social network for anyone suffering from Post Traumatic Stress and for friends and family members. The social network can be found at www.huddl.org and more company information can be found at www.PTSDUnited.org.
The team at PTSD United has funded the development and operation of the social network out of our pockets. We did this because we believe in the cause and don't want to see veterans and other sufferers fall by the wayside. Members can post freely without fear of being judged by others. The help of a community and being connected is immeasurable. It's a stepping stone to greater clarity for yourself and your emotions.
While there are many doctors and resources out there for people suffering from PTSD, there is now a universal, anonymous hub for people to go to when they feel alone - www.huddl.org. It is available 24 hours a day, whenever someone needs it.
We've worked with Peacelink on a number of initiatives to include the UN Day of Peace as well as the Veterans and Armed Forces Health Promotion Act. We'd like to see more options for our vets and would also like to spread the word about our free tool for anyone to use.
Our veterans are precious to our country and many of them feel alone. We have joined forces with Peacelink to do whatever we can to help ensure that our veterans have all of the resources possible to fully integrate back into society and have the support of the masses.
Josh Rizzo serves as the Executive Director for PTSD United, as well as serving on the Board of Directors. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the organization's consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives.
Josh Rizzo is currently a National Account Manager at Knaack LLC (recently sold by
Emerson Electric Co. to Werner Co.) where he is responsible for managing all facets of major national accounts, creating new accounts, leading efforts from all core internal departments, and supervising 15 regional sales agencies for a large, privately held industrial and construction supply company.
Previously, Josh worked as a Global Director of Business Development for Comark Building Systems (The Carlyle Group), where he was responsible for all business development activities nationally and internationally, leading all strategic planning, relationships, sales, and revenue for a $200 million dollar design-build construction firm.
Josh also served as a military officer in the United States Army from 2002 to 2007, achieving the rank of Captain, deploying to Iraq as a company commander in 2005 and 2006, where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.
Josh graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2002 where he lettered on the varsity baseball team four years, served as team Captain in 2001-2002, and was the recipient of the Doubleday Society Award for Leadership (an award given on an honorary basis). Josh currently resides in Southern California, where he enjoys writing, creating music, and spending time with friends.
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This article appears in:
2014 Catalyst, Issue 7: Veterans Health Coalition