About the Founder
Stephen S. Cone
Founder and President
Where to START... I'm a True Blue Floridian. Born and Raised around water.
So that's where I get my passion for fishing. Water is everywhere and its so inviting to see what's lurking under the surface.
Real life gets in the way and can sidetrack you. that's what happen to me. I did my 4 years in the US Air Force Stationed at Edwards AFB Ca. For a guy who loves trees, grass and rain.
I get sent to the Mojave Dessert.
I got to see several cool things while there.
Like the B1B, B-2, C-17, F-22
All new aircraft for the USAF.
Watched several shuttle landings while there as well.
Enough of the cool stuff. How I got here is simple but in a very complex way.
I cracked my kneecap while in the Air Force. It was repaired but a few bone fragments were left behind imbedded in the cartilage. Fast forward several years and I'm now a
Firefighter/EMT. A simple slip in oil sent me down a 21 plus year path of the highest of highs and the LOWEST OF LOWS. I ended up with a total of 12 knee operations with that also came two total knee replacements and in the end they all failed. Dealing with that kind of pain for that long will make you do almost anything and everything to get away from pain. In the end I voluntarily had my right leg cut off above the knee to escape the pain. Before the amputation I was on every pain pill that was and still is on the market. With all the PAIN KILLERS I was taking at one point in time. I truly shouldn't be here. Now add PTSD to the mix and for shits and giggles, add Depression and anxiety. That is a DEADLY COMBINATION without the right help. I'm one of the lucky one's who acutely made it out of the
DARK RABBIT HOLE.
I'm not saying I made it out of that hole without any scars.
For starters, I tried to take my own life in early 2016. I pulled the Triger on a revolver.
All I got was a click. I opened up the cylinder to seen if the hammer hit the firing cap and
left an impression and there was. Well I closed it up, spun the cylinder to where
the next bullet would be the one I just tried to use on myself.
I pulled the hammer back, squeezed the trigger and shot the ground.
I knew then God still had a use for me here on earth. I still didn't have a clue on what
that was so I still tried to do things my way, even after the attempt.
At this point in my life all I was wanting was for my boys to be together and safe.
Once that happen I went off the deep end again except this time I ended up homeless for a few weeks until I was able to get into a Vet house here in Michigan.
I was there for almost 8 months and met several other vets who were in the same
boat as me. I got to know several vets and their own story of how they ended up here.
Every story was almost the same. Some form of PTSD and Depression and couldn't get into see the Doc's at the VA for months. The same story in some form or another, every time.
Now here is the sadist part. There have been 4 suicide's and
2 OD's from that same bunch I was with.
I lost 6 people because they couldn't get the help they truly needed.
That all happened in less than one year. Their Ages ranged from 23 to 64.
That's just on the Vet side of things.
As I said earlier, I was a Firefighter back in the day so Public Safety is in
my blood as well. PTSD and DEPRESSION runs very high in public Safety and
the suicide rate is climbing because of lack of help. I'm not saying they cant get it
because they can. The problem is the SUPERMAN complex. Cop's, Firefighters and Medic's
are looked at like that and if you seek help you are showing weakness and you
can't be week doing this job. So it builds to the point you can't take it
anymore and they think suicide is the only way out.
I'm here to tell you that there is other ways out of that Rabbit Hole.
How do I know that,
ITS BECAUSE IM LIVING PROOF YOU CAN !
Between Veterans and Public Safety Personal,
there are 22 suicides' a day due to Pain, PTSD and or Depression.
Between fishing and having a buddy who has been down that road as well.
That allowed both of us to start to heal. So then Fishing became my mental therapy.
Since I have been doing this I have taken others and watched the transformation
in them almost over night. That's when I figured if it works,
why not take this to the next level.
WAS FORMED TO DO JUST THAT, TO TAKE THINGS TO THE NEXT LEVEL.
TO BE ABLE TO HELP OTHERS ON A BIGGER SCALE AND REDUCE THE
SUICIDE RATE OF VETERNS AND PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONAL
Okeechobee City Police Department
35 Years Service
I was Born in 1958 in Piqua, Ohio.
When I was 13 years old we moved to Fort Pierce Florida. Surrounded by water it was only natural to begin to love fishing. Along the way as a youngin of 13 years old I learned that Jesus love me and I accepted him as my personal savior.
I thought I grew up and got married had a very young age of 18 years and divorced two years later. I began drinking at 22 and was not a very good person when alcohol was in me. In 1981 I moved Okeechobee, met, and married my second wife whom I also divorced.
I was spiraling down into an alcohol induced black hole of failures. I was the black sheep of my family. Everyone else was successful except me.
In 1981 I went to work for the City of Okeechobee at ground level, mowing grass, digging holes, and driving a dump truck. I transferred to the Police Department, first in dispatch, then Road Patrol as a Patrolman. I soon met and married Fail, who reintroduced me to my loving Savior Jesus.
Along the Police road, I heard and saw many horrifying things. The screams of children and adults and the injuries that I saw people do to each other started to send me back down that dark hole again.
Thank God there was no alcohol involved this time, God had healed me of that. I am presently 30 years sober.
It took a long time to accept that I had PTSD.
I had never been in the military service and there was no way that I could have earned PTSD. It took doctors and the loving care of my pastor, John Glenn, for me to recognize that I was even allowed to have such a thing.
As the PTSD healing process goes on, Gail still stands by my side 32 years later. The victory that my life is an example of, helped me to see importance of X-22.
I am now retired from the Okeechobee City police department after 35 years.
The PTSD healing process goes on and will for the rest of my life. Thank you Steve and X-22 for the privilege of being on board.