NewsLocal News


22 Heartbeats helping veterans in Omaha

Posted at 10:30 AM, Feb 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-20 15:52:09-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — There is help out there for veterans but finding the right resources or finding a fellow veteran to talk to can be difficult.

3 News Now reporter Arianna Martinez spoke with the founder of a new nonprofit in Omaha looking to inform, be a resource in transitioning, and help veterans who are homeless.

The mission of 22 Heartbeats was always to find the contrast and similarities behind why some veterans are successfully able to transition home after military service, and why others have troubles. This idea blossomed into a documentary.

"Quite frankly, we treat our veterans terribly,” said Alec Rahe, managing partner of Frost Media. “I think things have gotten a lot better, but there are still so many things that we can help them with, especially after serving our country and that's really what this documentary wants to do."

And now continues to grow.

"Creating a first-of-its-kind resource and transitional program,” said Joe Trader, president and founder of 22 Heartbeats. “And then the big project is to bring a homeless veterans community project here to Omaha by including 20 to 40 tiny homes."

Through the filming of the documentary, panels of veterans were able to come together to discuss the hard topics. What they have found is it's not easy for anyone to admit the trauma, the war experience, and the fear for one’s life was normal during military experiences, unless another veteran is asking questions and guiding them down the right path.

And that is the value of 22 Heartbeats, to hopefully help those who are suffering in our area. The nonprofit is still in the beginning stages but they have already received calls for help.

"I've probably had close to 100 local veterans call to ask questions as far as where to navigate that, what resources do we know of that they can go to,” Trader said.

Now 22 Heartbeats is ready to grow their program. They are calling on the community to donate and volunteer.

"Monetary donations are crucial, as well as land to develop the veteran’s homeless community project, that's the biggest thing,” Trader said. “What we are looking for is to build a relationship with as many Nebraska businesses as possible for support of any kind. Because without the community’s support, we definitely won't be able to put the program together like we need to."

The name "22 Heartbeats" comes from the statistic that we lose 22 veterans a day to suicide. The organization wants to keep their memories alive by reaching out to those who need assistance.

For more on 22 Heartbeats, click here.

Download our apps today for all of our latest coverage.

Get the latest news and weather delivered straight to your inbox.