Celebrity chef helps struggling veterans

Retired Army Master Sergeant and former presidential chef Andre Rush details how his partnership with USAA helps veterans struggling with mental illness on the ‘Big Money Show.’

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

As PTSD awareness month comes to a close, one man is ensuring that PTSD among veterans is known, recognized — and not forgotten. Former Master U.S. Army Sgt. Andre Rush is partnering with USAA for its “Face the Fight” initiative to bring greater awareness to the issue of veteran PTSD as well as support for suicide prevention efforts. Fox News Digital spoke with the veteran and four-time presidential chef about his experience with PTSD, as well as why suicide prevention is so important to discuss today.

Andre Rush, Army veteran and celebrity chef, brings fresh awareness to PTSD, suicide prevention

“Why not right now?” said Rush, expressing a sense of urgency about the issue.

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is common among veterans who return home from combat. Chef Andre Rush served in the U.S. military for 23 years — and now he’s trying to help prevent other veterans from going down an unhealthy path. (Per Bernal)

Seven out of every 100 veterans will have PTSD at some point in their lives, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs reported.

Rush said that more than ever before, Americans need to discuss this.

Veterans hike 105 miles across Midwest to raise awareness for PTSD: ‘You’re not alone’

“The initiative that is happening right now is right on time,” he said.

The Face the Fight initiative is a collaboration among corporations, foundations and organizations that are joining together to raise awareness of and support for the prevention of veteran suicide, according to USAA.

Those taking part in the initiative hope to cut the veteran suicide rate in half by 2030.

Brandon Carter, USAA executive vice president, told Fox News Digital that Rush’s involvement in the initiative will inspire others to keep fighting.

“Chef Andre Rush has given Face the Fight a heart and soul that will empower fellow veterans to end the stigma by starting a conversation that can lead to greater awareness and help,” he said in a statement.

Celebrity chef Andre Rush combats the growing veteran suicide ‘pandemic’ with the Bourbiz Network

“He’s faced his own challenges — but he hasn’t stopped,” Carter added.

Rush grew up in Columbus, Mississippi, and faced many adversities in his life. Rush told Fox News Digital that he’s partnering with USAA on the Face the Fight initiative at the perfect time. “Why not right now?” he said. (Chef Andre Rush)

He served for 23 years in the U.S. military — and quickly became one of the top chefs in the military.

He was working as a chef at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001, during the terrorist attacks. He was also injured in Iraq — and lost friends in the military to suicide.

After realizing he was suffering from PTSD, Rush found an outlet to aid his PTSD.

“If I did it, you can do it.” Cooking is something Rush said is personal to him. He said it reminds him of his childhood and of bonding with his mother over food.

I used to cook with my mother and that was that comfort feeling, which was a coping tool for me,” he said.

Rush has cooked for four presidents in the White House: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald J. Trump. Rush does 2,222 push-ups every day in honor of the 22 veterans who commit suicide daily in the United States, he said. (Chef Andre Rush)

Rush said one of the biggest goals he aimed for while leading others in the military — and in the White House — was to never waver in his devotion to service.

He said he’s tried to remind others, including himself, that a high level of service can inspire other people, whether it’s through dining service or serving the country in the military.

“If I did it, you can do it,” he said.

The initial $41 million in philanthropic grants for Face the Fight will help support nonprofit programs for veterans suffering from PTSD, according to the USAA.

Some of these efforts will include clinical fellowships, distribution of tools for veteran service organizations and suicide prevention and training programs for veterans.

Brittany Kasko is a lifestyle production assistant with Fox News Digital.

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