Updated: Jul 18, 2020
It's not every day that you get to spend your day at work fishing, unless you're a commercial fisherman. I am not. Instead, my former partner from the Greater Cleveland Transit Police Department came down to visit me. I contacted Reeling Freedom, which is a nonprofit fishing group that gets veterans and first responders on the water, particularly ones with disabilities. I am a disabled police officer, and Marty is still an active duty officer at a suburban police department in the Cleveland area. It was a great opportunity to talk about partnering up with Reeling Freedom.
The Peacekeeper Initiative and Reeling Freedom can partner by helping get our mentors and mentees on the water for an opportunity to bond, talk, and get out of their own heads. Fishing is one way to do that. We also want to do SCUBA diving, Tai Chi, and other activities that can bring peace and opportunity to reset. Sometimes, that's just sitting outside on beautiful Florida day with a cup of coffee and just talking. The goal is for the mentor to support, listen, and offer advice to the mentee suffering from depression, PTSD, or suicidal thoughts. The mentor can help create a safety plan, go to support or substance abuse groups, and/or refer the mentee to a mental health professional. Peer mentoring and peer mentoring activities have been quite successful with veterans, who suffer similar issues, but it is not a substitute for professional help. It compliments it. It can also be fun. I know I had a blast, and we had quite a haul too.