Meet Jason Jipson, 2023 Jefferson Award winner

Jason Jipson enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps right out of high school, which was a few years after 9/11.

He was deployed to Iraq twice in four years.

During his eight years of service to our country, Jipson went through a lot physically, mentally, and emotionally. At times, it became overwhelming. So much so, he considered taking his own life.

“There was one point when I thought, ‘Tonight’s the night’ and then I was like, ‘I’ll wait until tomorrow’ and the next morning I woke up and I was like, ‘This isn’t okay. The way this feels is not okay.'”

That was the beginning of a decades-long mental health journey with many highs and lows. He found his way to Tybe Ecotherapy, an outdoor clinical treatment program designed specifically for veterans to manage the effects of stress, anxiety, depression, or trauma.

He was one of the first in Monroe County to complete the program, and eventually became a peer mentor.

“I feel like it’s my purpose,” Jipson said. “Why I’ve been put on this Earth is to do exactly what I’m doing and I couldn’t be able to do that unless all of that stuff happened.”

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Learn more about Jipson during a special program airing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 3 on News10NBC.