Through 10 years of service in the Canadian Armed Forces and another 14 in federal corrections, including some at a maximum security prison, Trevor Davis has had to deal with his fair share of traumatic experiences.
Mentally, he says, he remains relatively unscathed, although he does have a shorter temper than he used to and avoids sitting in the middle of large, crowded rooms. Others have it far worse, he notes, and that’s why he decided to participate in a 22-day challenge to combat post-traumatic stress disorder.
Now a corrections officer at Metchosin’s William Head correctional facility, Davis did 22 push ups a day for 22 days to raise awareness about the harmful effects of PTSD.
Recently, one of his best friends was exposed to fentanyl during work at a correctional facility. The drug can be dangerous even to the touch and Davis’ friend was told he was 30 minutes away from a potentially fatal incident.
“He was just doing a normal routine cell search … so now everybody thinks of that when they go do a cell search,” Davis said.
“The job changes people, just like being a police officer or in military. It’s the things that we do.”
The number 22 is significant, as it represents the number of American veterans who commit suicide every day, according to a study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Statistics for Canadian deaths remain unclear, but it is believed that at least 54 Canadian veterans of the war in Afghanistan have committed suicide, a total that is roughly a third of the number of soldiers killed in combat.
“It’s a big issue … it’s out there and there’s a lot more of it than what we really know. So this whole thing was about raising awareness,” Davis said.
It would appear that he was able to do just that over the course of the 22 days. He has posted videos of him participating in the challenge each day in a variety of locations.
“I’ve been doing videos in different places and just trying to make it fun for people to watch so it’s not just me doing 22 push ups in my Superman underwear,” Davis said.
His latest videos, including a day 21 segment with Colwood Fire Rescue, have yielded more than 3,000 views on his Facebook page.
“The [department] totally got into it, geared up, slid down the pole, lights flashing. It was awesome.”
On Aug. 17 Davis completed the final leg of his challenge with the help of 21 others – including several RCMP officers – outside the West Shore detachment. Davis got the group together in order to show his audience exactly what 22 people look like on camera, in recognition of the American statistics. “We [wanted] to show 22 people to just have a little visual,” he said.
Davis’s videos are viewable at facebook.com/davistrev.