Jefferson Awards: David Lippa supports the mental health of first responders and veterans

Jefferson Awards: David Lippa supports the mental health of first responders and veterans

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — In the heart of Rochester’s Valencia Drive, David Lippa aims to be more than a familiar face. He’s on a mission to forge community connections and bolster suicide awareness and prevention.

Lippa, founder of Stop 22 A Day, has dedicated over a decade to helping veterans and first responders grappling with mental health issues, embodying the spirit of community support and vigilance. Stop 22 A Day shines a spotlight on the statistic that an average of 22 veterans commit suicide annually in the United States.

Despite not being a veteran himself, Lippa’s personal connections to the military and his own battle with mental health have driven his commitment to this cause. His inspiration stemmed from his step-dad’s service in Vietnam, the loss of a friend in Iraq, and the desire to show gratitude to those who have served.

Lippa’s initiative also extends to first responders, inspired by the suicide of a close friend who served in the Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy Marine Unit at the age of 37.

His outreach efforts took a new turn when his truck unexpectedly caught fire last summer. The community rallied to support him, offering a profound reminder of the impact of his work.

This incident highlighted the essence of Lippa’s message: the importance of community support and the life-saving potential of simply checking in on one another. Lippa’s philosophy, “Buddy check is just a call on the phone, stop at someone’s house. That how are you doing today could be the switches that make someone go from a bad day to a good day,” is a powerful reminder of the impact personal connections can have on people struggling with mental health issues.

Through his actions and the narrative of his own experiences, David Lippa demonstrates the profound difference one person can make in the lives of many. You hear the stories of more recipients of the ESL Jefferson Awards here.

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