Local veteran creates ‘Spartan Axe’ to honor first responders

SPOKANE, Wash. — Firefighters are two times more likely to die from suicide than they are to die in the line of duty.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month and on Tuesday, the Spokane Fire Department held a dedication to honor those first responders who rush in when others rush out.

The Spartan Axe was created to honor first responders, who, because of their work, are at a higher risk of behavioral health concerns like anxiety, depression and burnout.

It was forged by Spokane resident and veteran Ben Hayhurst, of Wreath and Rifle Forge using steel from the fallen World Trade Center Towers in New York City. The same steel was provided for the Spartan Sword, which was created by New York firefighter Danny Prince and Warfighter Hemp founder Lt. Col. Steve Danyluk.

The sword travels the country with former US Marine and current FDNY firefighter Aaron Clark, who shares the Spartan Pledge to increase awareness of the high rate of suicide among the veteran community.

Now, the Spartan Axe will be a symbol to offer support to first responders who are also at a high risk of death by suicide.

The Spartan Axe will now travel to New York City where it will be permanently displayed at the Fire Training Academy.