Field of Flags recognizes emergency responders’ battle with PTSD

Officer Jason Brent Meyer’s service is remembered 23 years ago with a PTSD-focused 501(c)(3) organization among emergency responders.
Photo submitted

Researchers who study post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are constantly evaluating how powerfully a tragic memory is set in time and how physical triggers can instantly draw a person into that memory.

The – usually terrifying – event that is experienced or witnessed can lead to symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks and severe anxiety. Jenny Czapiewski and the family of Constable Jason B. Meyer, who served with the Grand Meadow Police Department, are looking for ways to provide emotional and psychological support, so PTSD doesn’t have a chance of becoming a reality. in the lives of emergency personnel. In Jason’s memory, a field of flags will be a visible sign acknowledging this invisible battle of PTSD.

The field of flags is to bring awareness to lives affected by trauma to respond to emergency situations.

Jenny recalls: “Jason was killed on September 6, 1999. It was Labor Day. He was a police officer, on duty, and was answering a call to Racine to assist a colleague when the accident occurred. Jason died instantly, but you wouldn’t have known it by the response and efforts of so many other officers, firefighters, paramedics and Mayo One. Jason was airlifted to St. Marys Hospital with continued efforts to save his life. Shortly after our family arrived at the hospital, a doctor came into the room to let us know that Jason had died. Our lives changed instantly, 28, a new cop with dreams.

Jason Meyer Memorial Fund organizers Sister Jenny Czapiewski, Niece Kaylie Czapiewski and Mother Joyce Meyer have had direct involvement in how PTSD affects emergency responders and their families, so they are inspired to help in sponsoring Field of Flags in Spring Valley.
Photo submitted

“Nothing made sense. It wouldn’t be for weeks. As a family, we wanted to honor Jason’s memory, his life. We created the Officer Jason B. Meyer Scholarship Fund , raising several thousand dollars so that scholarships can be awarded each year to two RCTC graduate law enforcement officers. So much has changed and evolved in 23 years. There have been two generations of nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews. They all seem to have a piece of Jason in them. We’re all talking about Uncle Jason. His photos are in place. We wear his shirts. We go to events. It is important to us to keep his memory alive and to honor the life he lived. An awareness of how this traumatic moment affected us allowed us to understand the reality of what an invisible PTSD wound is. Our family knows firsthand that in this invisible fight, many are suffering alone. They are afraid to ask for help! Too many officers, EMTs, paramedics, firefighters and their families are losing the battle,” says Jenny.

The field of 100 flags will be displayed in the green space by Matt’s Body Shop in Spring Valley from Labor Day, September 5, until Sunday, September 11.

“Our family has lost our son, brother, uncle, friend and law enforcement partner in the line of duty,” says Jason’s niece, Kaylie Czapiewski (only six at the time of her death), who assumed a leadership role by helping to create the Facebook page and fundraisers.

She continues, “The field of flags will also be a way to honor and remember friends, family or organizations that are close to your heart. We would be honored if you would help raise funds and support us in our new mission to help law enforcement officers, paramedics, firefighters and first responders who may be dealing with a post-traumatic stress. Know that 100% of the funds raised during this event will be used to raise awareness and help men and women find the services they need.

Those involved in this fundraiser give special thanks to Matt’s Body Shop for allowing the Field of Flags to be placed on their property and Herold Flags of Rochester for the use of their flags.

All donations made to the Jason Meyer Memorial Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization, are tax deductible.

To make payment for a flag in memory or in honor of a loved one, use the secure Venmo merchant account @JasonMeyerMemorialFund. The cost is $30 for a flag and message card. If you would like to add a colored ribbon representing one of five different colors, an additional $5 donation can be made. If you use Venmo, please indicate the message you would like to add to your flag in the comments and the ribbon color of your choice.

Another form of payment can be made by clicking the “donate” button on the Jason Meyer Memorial Fund Facebook page. If you use the Donate button, the costs are the same. however, please send them a message stating what you would like the card placed on the flag and indicate if a ribbon is requested. Ribbon colors depicted: Green – Federal Officers, Blue – Law Enforcement, Red – Fire Department, Gray – Correctional Officers, Gold – Dispatcher, and White – All EMS.

Most importantly, in memory of Officer Jason Brent Meyer, his family invites the public to take a moment during the week of September 5-11 to walk the field of flags, remembering those who died or who live with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Denise W. Whigham