Matt Bassitt is a veteran of the US Air Force, where he completed search and rescue activities that impacted his mental health.

After going through Save A Warrior’s 72-hour, life-saving program in 2016, Matt was inspired to help other veterans and first responders cope with ongoing trauma.

Shortly after, he began serving as a board member for the organization and organizing a fundraiser to help more veterans attend SAW. Over the past two years, Matt’s advocacy inspired First Story to award $17,500 in Giving Grants to Save A Warrior.

“About 20 veterans commit suicide every day,” Matt said. “But SAW has a 99% success rate of supporting the veterans we serve.”

Save A Warrior’s 72-hour program equips veterans and first responders with holistic and effective techniques to overcome the symptoms and addictions associated with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS). It costs $3,500 for a veteran, or warrior, to attend SAW, but all costs are covered through donations like First Story’s Giving Grants.

In addition to running his own home loans business in Bend, Matt continues to organize an annual fundraising event to pay for more Central Oregonian veterans to attend SAW. “We’ve sponsored close to 150 warriors to attend SAW,” Matt said.

More recently, Matt formed Warrior Impact, a nonprofit organization that’s led by SAW alumni.

Warrior Impact sponsors outings like white water rafting trips for Central Oregon veterans who may be struggling with PTS and lets them know about SAW. Through these community-building events, Matt hopes to help more veterans realize that they don’t have to struggle with PTS alone.

You could say Matt is a warrior through and through–and we’d agree! Thank you, Matt, for being a champion for veterans and first responders.