The work of a new non-profit organization that was founded by a member of the Jackson Township Police Department is having a positive impact on another lifelong brotherhood, military veterans.
Called Recalibrate, Officer John Roth established this group to support military members transitioning from active duty to civilian life in Ocean County.
“The goals are to ensure that it’s as smooth and successful as possible, both physically and mentally,” said Roth who served the United States Marine Corps from 2007 to 2018. “And to reduce the struggles experienced by those coming back.”
Since May, Roth has been facilitating monthly support groups, which are being attended regularly by both male and female members ranging in age from 23 to 55. The groups are provided in conjunction with the Mental Health Association – Ocean County.
The partnership between that agency and Roth reflects a local effort to foster a relationship between the mental health community and law enforcement. Roth is an instructor with the Crisis Intervention Team, which is a police collaboration that aims to improve the way law enforcement responds to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.
“John’s willingness to work with us has been lauded by the state vet’s office. This endeavor is the first of its kind in New Jersey,” said O’Dea. “I hope to see other communities duplicating our partnership.”
Through Recalibrate and the peer-to-peer interaction at the meetings, Roth says group members openly and honestly discuss topics ranging from Veterans Affairs, employment and housing to the stigma attached to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, commonly known as PTSD, and Traumatic Brain Injury.
“Being a veteran myself, I see this is important work. We know we lose 22 Veterans a day to suicide. Peers are needed to support one another,” said Roth. He was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Free respectively.
In addition to providing an outlet for support through Recalibrate, Roth has established meaningful community partnerships that are leading to social and recreational opportunities. At a local gym, Apache CrossFit of Toms River, members of the group are meeting to work out once monthly at no cost. He’s also arranging an upcoming fishing trip for members through Wicked Tuna charters in Massachusetts.
Roth intends to organize activities that will include family members of veterans, which, he says, is a priority as veterans reconnect and re-establish roles and relationships in their families. Beach events and surfing lessons are among those being considered.
Initially, Roth became involved with a local veteran support effort though the Veterans Diversion Group in the court system. Through a mentoring program, veterans are paired with peers who work them one-on-one on specific personal goals, which may include recovery from alcohol or drug addiction, he explained. The initiative originated in the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
Moving forward, Roth said he will be working to expand partnerships and arrange for speakers to address members of Recalibrate.
Roth has worked in law enforcement for 8 years. In addition to Jackson Township Police Department, he’s worked in Seaside Heights and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department.
For more information about Recalibrate, call John at 732-244-0940 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Recalibrate meetings are held 6:30 pm on the third Wednesday of each month at Journey to Wellness Center, 25 S. Shore Drive, Toms River.