Our general manager, Sheila, came to work not too long ago talking about this local firefighter who has literally been through hell and back and is now speaking and reaching out to others about PTSD and Suicide. As she talked about Scott Geiselhart and his inspirational Facebook posts I had goosebumps and knew right away this was going to be our next Pay it Forward!
We called up Scott and told him we wanted to pay it forward with a new outfit from THE NINES and also share his story on our blog! Scott agreed and stopped by the store last week before we opened so we could spend a little extra time finding him outfits that made him feel good and learning about his story. There were a few times Scott came out of the dressing room a little choked up and teary eyed that we were giving him a free outfit. He kept saying nobody’s ever done anything like this for me before. As Sheila and I fought back our own tears, we were reminded why we love our rewarding job so much. Helping someone find an outfit that makes them do a double take in the mirror, though it’s not saving peoples lives, it gives people a big boost and it’s a beautiful thing to be part of.
After we found some great outfits and gave Scott some styling tips I talked with him upstairs to hear more about his story. He told me about his days of being a local Fire Fighter in Frazee and having to respond to horrific accidents involving children and families. The nightmares of these accidents consumed Scott and he blamed himself when victims didn’t survive. He said it was hard to go home to his family and go to bed like nothing happened after seeing people lose their loved ones. The trauma over 15 years had caused PTSD but he didn’t know it. He struggled with the nightmares and became short tempered, angry and eventually turned to drugs to stay awake to escape the nightmares. Then, just a little over two years ago, in hopes to end his suffering once and for all, he tried to take his own life but the gun didn’t go off.
Scott believes it was divine intervention that the gun didn’t go off and he then began trying to figure out why. Scott learned about PTSD and was able to get help and now he’s on a mission to help others!
Scott says “It can happen to anybody, PTSD, depression, suicide it’s all hand in hand and it’s not being talked about enough.”
Since, Scott has made it a personal mission to save lives. He’s been traveling to fire departments across Minnesota speaking about PTSD and suicide.
“Now I just want to go back and try to prevent this from happening to anyone else,” says Scott.
If you or someone you know is struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifelife at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 2-1-1 to be connected with Firstlink’s 24-hour helpline. There is also a Firefighter/EMS Assistance Program, call 1-888-731-FIRE (3473).
Scott is also part of a group called Never. Give. Up. It’s a group with a mission to raise money for suicide prevention and awareness education, to suppose those who suffer so they will never give up.