Hancock (right) in a photo on duty in Iraq

Brain Health Nonprofit Announces First-Ever “Courageous Veteran” Award

U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) veteran Jonathan Hancock is off to a great start this year. Not only is he in the documentary, Bastards’ Road, but he’s also the first veteran to receive the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona (BIAAZ)  Award for Courageous Veteran.

Hancock became a part of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, based at Camp Pendleton. The infantry battalion nicknamed the “Magnificent Bastards” saw heavy casualties and urban warfare during Hancock’s eight deployments in Iraq. 

Once his deployment was over, Hancock faced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) alone and became suicidal. Unsure of what to do next, he walked 5,800 miles across the Country. Between the solitude of the road and the moments he shared along the way with his fellow Marine brothers and the Gold Star families of the fallen, he saw ways to manage the invisible wounds of war.

“We know that coming home and folding back into everyday life is for some when an entirely different battle begins,” said Carrie Collins-Fadell, CEO of BIAAZ. “In Bastards’ Road, Johnathan rips the lid off those conversations, so many families don’t know how to have, giving families and loved ones a playbook to break through the silence, aiding them to be there in a different way for their veteran. And let’s be clear, the silence around brain health issues is a big part of why we are losing 22 veterans a day to suicide”. 

Hancock, who went back to school and settled in Arizona with his wife Tiffany after filming Bastards’ Road, says his feelings of honor and humility were present while accepting the award.

“I welcome the opportunity to open the door for conversations around brain health challenges,
he says.

After twenty years of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, many Arizona veterans face brain health challenges.  TBI and PTSD are the signature injuries for service in the Middle East theaters. BIAAZ services for veterans and military families include counseling, peer support, medical care coordination, and assistance with VA claims for those with brain injury.

“We don’t just focus on the brain health challenges of post- 9/11 veterans,” said Collins-Fadell.  “We offer police and first responder training on how to assist those with crisis-level PTSD, and everything Mr. Hancock is doing simply compliments that by opening doors to conversations on how we can all work towards a community where brain health for all veterans is one of our top priorities.”

The award was presented during BIAAZ’s first-ever Brainiac Bash, an evening of dancing and revelry to celebrate the infinite wonders of the brain. You can learn more about BIAAZ online at https://biaaz.org/ or call their statewide neuro info-line at 888-500-9165

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