Fenton History Center and JCC to Present Film About Veteran Suicide, “Project 22”

Article Contributed by
Fenton History Center

The Fenton History Center’s Vets Finding Vets program, and the Jamestown Community College Veterans Committee and History Department will present “Project 22”, a documentary film about the alarming rise in veteran’s suicide on February 6 at 7 PM in JCC’s Scharmann Theatre, Jamestown. The film is free and open to all. The documentary will be introduced by Veteran Theo Collins. Theo is a licensed Attorney within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a member of the Bar Associations of Pennsylvania and Allegheny County. He is graduate of the Duquesne University School of Law and a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the State University of New York at Fredonia. He served as a Sergeant in the infantry of the U.S. Marine Corps, and deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He is an Executive Producer of the Medicinal Missions documentary “Project 22”. He also serves on the Veterans’ Advisory Board of Duquesne University. Theo has appeared on NPR, CBS Pittsburgh, The Post-Gazette, MSNBC, and elsewhere to discuss Veterans’ issues. Following the film a panel of local Veterans that served in past conflicts and wars will answer questions about their service and impressions.

The film was inspired by two combat wounded veteran’s personal loss and their determination to end a little-known epidemic in America. Their 22 day 6,500-mile cross-country mission was to raise awareness of the high rate of suicide amongst Veterans and show their brothers and sisters-at-arms that there is hope for them. The film is an uplifting journey that continues to become more and more hopeful as more Veterans join the journey.

“Project 22” includes interviews with veterans who have found help and support for problems they faced after coming home through various therapies and programs. Producers also spoke with leading researchers of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress, mental health clinicians and educators, as well as, leading experts in warrior culture and combat stress. Coupled with the insightful and potentially life changing information they captured in interviews, they filmed the motorcycle awareness campaign, including camping, several organized rides and our final ride being escorted into World Trade Center by the Port Authority Police Department. They gathered incredible footage and news coverage in multiple cities, including Pittsburgh and New York.

Medicinal Missions, the production company that made the documentary, continues the awareness campaign, through events and social media, leading up to and following the release of the documentary. “Project 22” has been screened by request more than one hundred times around the United States, including the television premier hosted by Southern Oregon Public Television and the subsequent international, online release on PBS.org.

“Project 22” was entirely crowd-funded via an IndieGoGo campaign and private donations. Medicinal Missions is a production company and social enterprise co-owned by Daniel Egbert & Doc King. Their first production, “Project 22” is fiscally sponsored by From The Heart Productions, a 501(c)3 non-profit.

The Fenton’s Vets Finding Vets program connects veterans to other veterans through events and research projects. They each have war/conflict experiences and family stories that are unique and similar. There is no need to explain the effects of war or military life, each understands and their stories help those who have not served in the military to understand their struggles. The Vets Finding Vets program is coordinated by Barbara Cessna and funded in part by a grant from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. All veterans are encouraged to join by calling the Fenton History Center at 716-664-6256. For more information visit the Fenton website, www.fentonhistorycenter.org or call the number above.