We had the good fortune of connecting with Shawn Banzhaf and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shawn, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
My book The Five Ls: A Practical Guide for Helping Loved Ones Heal After Trauma is written from the veterans perspective after I came home from war in Iraq. I suffered from many of the symptoms of PTSD and I lay out very practically how my wife did these five things to help me walk through that. It is a journey of course and it is a continual walk to healing. My thoughts in creating the frame work I lay out is to make a difference in helping slow the suicide rate in the veteran population which is hovering around 20 a day. But I know as well that trauma is more widespread than just the veteran population and I hope that my book will find its way into the hands of all people who want to help their loved ones. I have a secret passion for my book to get into communities of color where therapy is either not available from people who look like them or it is frowned upon and considered weakness. I am also hopeful that the book will get into the LGBTQIA+ community as well because suicide rates in that community rival veteran suicide rates. This book and my frame work give a practical how-to for people who just want to help but don’t know what to do.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have spent a life pretty much dedicated to serving my community. I spent 21 years on the military, 10 years as a police officer, 10 years as a pastor and now about 6 years working with college student veterans to help them succeed. I am most proud of my work with my new book as it has made a difference in people’s lives and it continues to move people in a direction of healing. I have heard in many reviews of my book that my words have had a profound impact upon people and their relationships. The path took from where I started to where I have ended up as been full of ups and downs but it truly has been what formed me. I have had mountain top experiences, i.e. earning the Bronze Star for my service in Iraq, publishing a book and valley experiences as well, i.e. being traumatized on different levels, losing Soldiers to combat and suicide and host of other moments but through it all I can honestly say I stand in awe of people. We all have the need for love and the ability to love and this is my life’s work really.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh great question!
1. We must eat a few at a few of my favorite spots, Taco Chelo in downtown Phoenix, Spinatos Pizza, and In and Out.
2. Coffee, coffee and more coffee. I would definitely take them to Infusion in Tempe and probably out to breakfast at First Watch.
3. We would hike quite a bit, South Mountain where I live would be a first then if time permits, we could travel north to the Pine Trail head and hike there.
4. We would have to hit up my favorite breweries in town. Greenwood, Wilderness and State 48.
5. One of my other favorite places to take company is the Botanical Gardens here in Tempe.
6. Depending on the time of year, we would have to take in a Sun Devil’s game of any kind!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Jodi Banzhaf (wife) My kids, Zach (Nicky) Jenna (Javaris)
Co-Author and publisher Jamin Hubner and wife Jessica
My parents Larry and Darla Banzhaf
Friends, Michelle Loposky, Dr. Renee Bhatti-Klug, Krystal Bird, Matt Schmidt
Culturally Intelligent Training and Consulting
Staff and Students at the Pat Tillman Veterans Center
Arizona State University
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