After 7 tours overseas, retired staff sergeant begins mission he - KPTV - FOX 12

After 7 tours overseas, retired staff sergeant begins mission helping vets

Posted: Updated: May 22, 2017 10:57 AM
Local army veteran Josh Sprecher does his part to help other vets. Local army veteran Josh Sprecher does his part to help other vets.
(KPTV) -

After four tours in Iraq and three in Afghanistan, a local army veteran is home and making a big difference at Lines for Life.

Josh Sprecher is an American hero. After 11 years in the army as a combat vet and seven tours oversees, Sprecher retired on disability.

Now home with his wife and five kids, he is putting his free time into helping other veterans.

“Reaching out to another human being in their time of need is like the biggest thing you can do,” Sprecher said. “If people feel that they aren't being heard and don't have anyone to talk to, they kind of get stuck in their own mind.”

The retired staff sergeant volunteers with Lines for Life, and he calls it his chance to it's his chance to help.

Sprecher remembers a call that really stood out from early in his volunteering days when a veteran in Texas called in.

“He said, ‘I'm heading over to this dike and I'm going to shoot myself when I get over there,’” he recalled. “My first question was, ‘How far are you away? How much time do we have?’”

Sprecher convinced the man to pull over, and the two men talked for over an hour.

“His frustration had a lot to do with, ‘I know I have this problem and I'm trying to get services, but I can't,’” Sprecher said.

That is one of the specialties with Lines for Life, connecting people to the resources they need. Sprecher was able to convince the man to take apart his gun and mental health workers took over.

“The biggest thing you can do is put yourself aside for a moment to kind of sit in the hole with somebody else and help them out of that hole,” he said.

Sprecher is also heading up a local program called Farming for Freedom. It gives local veterans in Columbia County a chance to bond over meaningful work.

“For us, it's a way of really slowing things down,” he explained. “Naturally, they are going to 'conversate' back and forth and talk, and we end up leaving a lot of stuff that you wouldn't share with non-vets. You really end up leaving a lot of that in the ground.”

For Sprecher, it's all about creating that connection.

Lines for Life volunteers are veterans and non-veterans alike, and Sprecher said he hopes more people will volunteer.

“You can come as you are and take whatever it is you have and dump it into something that is really productive and really positive,” he said. “Everyone is there supporting each other.”

FOX 12 is helping to raise money to benefit Lines for Life. To make a donation to help give a voice for veterans, visit KPTV.com/Voice or simply text "LINES" to 444999.

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