Community rallies behind former paramedic suffering PTSD

Craig Koppenhaver’s friends and colleagues raised money for his home repairs, and are helping to get him treatment

By EMS1 Staff

ALBUQUERQUE — A former paramedic who suffers from PTSD is receiving support from his community and former colleagues.

KOB reported that Craig Koppenhaver, who was almost forced out of his home due to electrical repairs he could not afford to fix, received some help from friends who began raising money to keep him in his home.

"We have completed all the electrical repairs and the electricity is back on. I can turn on a light switch and actually have it work,” he said.

The fundraiser, led by Koppenhaver’s friend Mychal Gurule, resulted in others becoming aware of Koppenhaver’s situation, such as firefighter Rob Arrieta.

"The issue is that we all suffer, whether you're a first responder, a nurse, doctor, you're an EMT, you're anybody. Even our families suffer," Arrieta said.

Arrieta reconnected with Koppenhaver and is helping him through his PTSD organization Skulls for Hope, which spreads awareness through skull bracelets.

"The goal is to give somebody something tangible," Arrieta said. "The bracelets are a conversation piece. It's something you can look at when you're at your worst and say, 'OK. Oh, yeah. I'm a part of this community and I'm not alone.’"

Koppenhaver said the fundraiser and support has shown him that he is not alone.

"People that I haven’t seen in years from working at Albuquerque ambulance were showing up on my doorstep, and their words carried me more than anything," he said.

The fundraiser is still being held by Koppenhaver’s friends. Click here to donate.

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