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Little Rock Airman counseling people in crisis via text

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He does his normal 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM job Monday through Friday at the Little Rock Air Force Base where he works as a material management journeyman. But it's what A1C Zachery Deuyour does in his off time that he says is helping to serve his country in a different way.

Deuyour spends most of his day carting around plane parts - moving airplane propellers, to 500-pound tires, down to the nuts and bolts of the Air Force's thousands of airliners. His job is to pack up each part into specialty kits for combat and contingency missions overseas to help airmen abroad that need to possibly repair planes.

But it's what Deuyour is doing with his Friday nights' into the wee hours of Saturday mornings that he says is perhaps more humbling than the service he already provides his country in the Air Force. Deuyour volunteers as a crisis counselor for Crisis Text Line, 24/7 emotional support for those in crisis.

"It's still fairly new, where people are still kind of learning about it," said Deuyour.

Every week Deuyour is signing into an online platform, accessing hundreds of texts awaiting responses from real people, being sent by other people who are being bullied, experiencing abuse at home, all the way to contemplating suicidal thoughts.

Deuyour was able to utilize his first aid training learned in the Air Force to help one of the texters in crisis. The woman believed she was in the process of overdosing on a potentially deadly combination of Zoloft and ibuprofen.

"She mentioned feeling faint, feeling dehydrated," recalled Deuyour. "She started mentioning different signs that could potentially mean you were going into shock."

Emergency services were contacted by supervisors at the Crisis Text Line, but the information Deuyour had provided ended up probably saving her life.

In just three months, Deuyour has counseled nearly 350 people and rescued six texters from imminent danger. He says more and more people are reaching out to the texting support service, saying texters have said they wouldn't have sought help vocally over the phone.

"They actually told me that they would never call in," said Deuyour. "They said if it wasn't for a text-based service, they don't believe they would have made it through the night."

Deuyour said he's actually helped a fellow airman - an experience that he said hit close to home, but believes could help other military members who might not feel comfortable doing it via normal hotline.

If you're looking for help tonight you can utilize the free 24/7 Crisis Text Line, by texting the word "HELP" to 741-741.


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