Jump for Valor, a D.C.-area organization formed to help veterans with mental health challenges through sky diving and other aerial sports, is urging people across the region to give back this weekend.
The organization is holding a fundraiser from Nov. 13-15 at Skydive Chesapeake in Ridgely, Maryland, to raise money for its sessions.
Veteran Christopher Derbak founded the organization in 2019. He said he started the group to give veterans another outlet.
“We take guys who might be suffering from PTSD and depression and we do a sky-dive with them,” said Derbak.
He said he wanted to offer an alternative to conventional therapy.
“We like to call it air therapy,” said Derbak.
The funds will also go toward putting veterans through an “advanced free fall program,” where they would learn how to sky-dive on their own.
People who register and attend the fundraiser will receive a free meal from Buffalo Wild Wings and beer from Mispillion River Brewing, along with a “Jump for Valor” face shield.
The nonprofit also strives to be a support system for veterans by bringing together people with similar backgrounds.
“A lot of the instructors are all military and these guys get a lot of comfortability being with their fellow military guys,” said Derbak.
“We have had a lot of our fellow veterans coming to U.S. saying, ‘If this doesn’t work, I’ve got nothing else to do,’ and suicide is the next thing that they’re looking at.”