COLORADO SPRINGS — Two veteran-owned businesses are brewing awareness about veteran suicide. Dueces Wild Brewing in Colorado Springs and Elizabeth Brewing Company in Elizabeth, CO are in on the effort.
The two breweries worked together to brew a beer called "22 a Day." It's to help get the word out about the alarming statistic that every day, 22 veterans commit suicide.
"If you've ever served in the military or know someone who has been in the military, I can almost guarantee you they've been directly impacted by veteran suicide," said Ty DeJane, an investor for Dueces Wild Brewing. DeJane is also a U.S. Army veteran and was stationed at Fort Carson from 2001 to 2007.
Scott Roberts, the brew master for Elizabeth Brewing company for three years, helped brew the beer, which is a double dry-hopped, haze double IPA with 22 pounds of hops. Roberts served in the air force and is a 10-year veteran.
"Personally, veteran suicide is something that I struggled with. It's not a topic to be shy about. It's not a topic to be bashful about," said Roberts, "because veteran suicide is important to me and I've experienced it firsthand."
Funds from the "22 a Day" beer sales will go toward the organization called "22 Until None." It's a national organization, but there's a local effort called the Rocky Mountain Chapter.
"It's a heartfelt program that we want everybody to know and be aware of," said Roberts. "We need to provide these veterans with an outreach, so this was our way of getting together. Hopefully they can see this and reach out."
The organization offers financial assistance, VA benefits help, and camaraderie for veterans, all while trying to end veteran suicide.
DeJane says it's a topic that's hard to talk about, but a reality veterans face daily.
"22 a Day isn't just about Veterans Day and 4th of July and Memorial day. It's about every day," said DeJane.
The two vets also said this is their way of letting other veterans know, there is help out there.
"We definitely want the veterans dealing with it, either past, present or future, to know that there is an outreach program, that there are programs that support them," said Roberts.
"If we can help out several people along the way, that's what we're here for," said DeJane.
According to the organization, one in five suicide deaths is a veteran. They've been raising money to help lower those numbers.
For every glass that is sold of the "22 A Day" beer, one dollar will get donated to the Rocky Mountain Chapter. Each brewery has half of the yield. The breweries will sell the beers until supplies run out.
Last year, the local organization helped raise more than $40,000 to support veterans in our community.