BOISE, Idaho — Two Treasure Valley veterans are working to help end the stigma behind veteran and first responder post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Jared Webb and Brent Rowe are the founders of Zero Dark Thirty Coffee Inc. They make and sell their own coffee to people all over Idaho and the country. 80% of their profits go to local charities for first responders, veterans and their families.
"We focus on the charities that are small, that are actually making a big difference," Webb said. "Homework for Heroes is one that we work with quite a bit, where they actually treat PTSD for individuals."
The topic of PTSD hits close to home for Webb, who is a former Marine and Nampa Police officer. During his time on the force, Webb had several surgeries, which he said led him to a pain medication addiction.
"I realized that opiates are a really good way to numb out emotion, which treats PTSD really well," Webb said.
Webb said at the time he didn't realize it was PTSD he was dealing with, he just knew he did it to address the feelings and thoughts in his head.
"The problem was, I lost connection with my family and friends and I lost a house," Webb said.
He added his opiate addiction also got him in trouble with the police department for felony prescription fraud.
After several more dark incidents following Webb, including contemplation of suicide, he made the decision to seek help and turn his life around. He entered Ada County Veteran's Treatment Court, which he said forced him to address the trauma in his life and talk about it openly.
"I finally opened my eyes to the fact that, 'yeah, there's something going on with me mentally that I can't control and I can't fix myself and I need some help,'" Webb said.
Webb met Rowe in Vet Court, where they were able to bond over coffee. The bond eventually led them to start Zero Dark Thirty Coffee and its foundation.
"He told me I didn't even know what real coffee tasted like, which was accurate, because once I actually tasted his coffee, I was like, 'alright, I'm in. Yeah, this is good stuff,'" Webb laughed.
Four years later, Webb is using his story and knowledge to help others with PTSD, so they don't fall down the same dark hole he once did.
"You can crawl out of the hole, it doesn't matter how deep it is, we can get out," Webb said. "You just got to reach out to somebody."
Zero Dark Thirty Coffee will be teaming up with The Taylor Foundation, founded by Corey Taylor, the lead singer of Slipknot. Taylor will be grabbing a cup of coffee with Webb and other local veterans in town to talk about the stigma behind PTSD and how to better address it in the community.
Webb said the event is for veterans. He said those interested in joining the conversation can reach him on his cell phone at (208) 989-1343, or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org
The event runs from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Boise (Webb will message those interested with the event's location).
Anyone interested in making a donation, buying coffee, or finding out more about Zero Dark Thirty Coffee can do so by clicking here.
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