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A Colorado Springs veterans motorcycle group will hold the Mission to Zero Ride in hopes of saving more lives

Posted at 6:46 PM, Sep 12, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS — The fifth annual Pikes Peak Mission to Zero Ride returns Sunday, September 17th. Motorcycle riders will start at Murray Street Darts and ride a loop to Crystal Reservoir, Pikes Peak Brewing Company, Black Forest Brewing Company, Falcon Edge Bar, and ending back at Murray Street darts.

The Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association organizes, Mission to Zero with a goal is to raise awareness about veteran suicide.

Donn Ebarb is a member of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Chapter 3-2 in Colorado Springs. Ebarb is also the committee chairman for Pikes Peak Mission to Zero.

Ebarb retired from the United State Army in 2010, after serving 20 years. He says Mission to Zero is to make people aware of the increasing concern regarding veteran suicides within the Colorado Springs community.

"It is not just about the veterans who might have tendencies or thought of suicides, but also making family members and member and other veterans aware so they are maybe able to recognize some of these concerns that a veteran may have, that may lead to suicide," Ebarb said.

Ebarb said issues surrounding veterans mental health and suicide are not talked about enough.

“A lot of veterans, they don’t necessarily like to bring up that subject, whether it is vulnerabilities or weakness, it is kind of an ego thing for veterans. They don't want to talk about it. They are always very apt to help someone else," Ebarb said.

In the past, Ebarb said the Mission to Zero would donate the proceeds to larger organizations. Ebarb said they are great organizations that contribute a lot to the community, but this year they wanted to support a smaller company. They decided to give the money raised from the ride to Painted Paws for Veterans.

"I had a little dog that helped me get through my struggles when I returned from Iraq, so I am giving back to our community in the same way,” said Warrick.

Tyler Warrick retired from the United States Army after multiple deployments. He said it's hard for veterans to transition back from active duty back to everyday life.

“A lot of anxiety, there is a part of being in the military, regardless of war or not, where there is always a team of support around you. Coming back you feel alone and you are anxious about your surroundings. Not understanding how things have changed. The way you think about things, the way you see things now are different then the way they were before,” Warrick said.

Warrick said it is very crucial for veterans to find a purpose and calling outside of the military.

“So getting up everyday and finding that new purpose to help you think about tomorrow rather than ending today,” Warrick said.

For Warrick, it was support animals. Painted Paws for Veterans is an organization/ranch in Peyton Colorado that partners veterans with K-9s for support. Warrick has seen relationships between veterans and K-9s to be very emotionally therapeutic.

"That gives them new hope, helps them get into society again and it gets them out of the house and isolation and mostly it helps them re-ground themselves," said Warrick.

If not a purpose, a community. Ebarb said it's valuable for veterans to find a supportive group.

He joined The Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association 3-2 Chapter In Colorado Springs.

"A common interest, common history, common focus now because I wanted to find an organization to give back to the veteran community,” Ebarb said.

The CVMA 3-2 Chapter has around 100 members and typically forty to fifty of them show up at the meetings. They do multiple rides a year in support of veterans both in Colorado Springs, surrounding areas and out of state. Ebarb said CVMA 3-2 Chapter has a lot of camaraderie among members.

“We get along great, we have a lot of fun, we give each other a lot of grief. It is a good time,” Ebarb said.

According to the El Paso County County's Coroner 2022 report, 1 in 4 veterans committed suicide in 2022. That's a 5% decrease from 2021. Warrick said he is unsure if he believes the statistics. He says he has had a few veteran friends over this past year who have taken their own lives.

The VA data shows suicide is still still the 13th leading cause of death among veterans and the 2nd leading cause of deaths among veterans under the age of 45.

Warrick hopes The Mission To Zero Ride will show veterans that help is available.

"They should know they are not alone, because a lot of veterans feel like they are by themselves in this fight, but they are not. We are here, all you have to do is come see us," Warrick said.

A message Ebarb also wants to share.

“There is always an ear available for them to talk. Sometimes people do not remember that when they make bad decisions. But as military members there is not a military veteran that I know that would not stop to talk to someone if they truly knew they were in trouble,”

He said suffering in silence is a bug issue and oftentimes veterans are more likely to help others before they help themselves.

Ebarb encourages people to reach out. He also says the Mission to Zero ride is not just for motorcycle riders. He says everyone is welcome to join the caravan. More information can be found on the Pikes Peak Mission to Zero.

If you or someone you know needs help or someone to talk to, there is help available in our area. The Colorado Hotline offers help 24/7. You can reach a mental health professional by calling 1-844-493-TALK or by texting "Talk" to 38255.

Below is a list of walk-in crisis centers in our area. Both locations offer counseling and therapy.

El Paso County:

  • Diversus Health Lighthouse Walk-in Crisis Center - 115 S. Parkside Dr.
  • Diversus Health Woodmen Outpatient Care Center - 6071 E. Woodmen Rd. Suite 135

Pueblo County:

  • Pueblo’s Crisis Walk-In Center (Health Solutions) - 1310 Chinook Ln.

The doors are always open at these locations.____

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