close
close

Veteran, firefighter gives back to Next 18

Veteran, firefighter gives back to Next 18

BROWN DEER, Wis. – A Wisconsin-based organization focused on the mental health of people on the front lines is gearing up for an upcoming camp in May.

Next 18 is hosting a four-day recreational therapy event. It uses the game of golf to help heal veterans and first responders.

The event will take place May 6-9 at Whistling Straights in Kohler.


What you need to know

  • Next 18 is hosting a four-day recreational therapy event. It uses the game of golf to help heal veterans and first responders
  • With his job in the military and as a first responder in New Berlin, Jeff Nebel said he suffered from trauma that comes with his job
  • In the summer of 2022, he felt the impact of the organization himself. Now, two years later, he is a peer support specialist working to help other veterans and first responders succeed

At events like these, Jeff Nebel was first introduced to the work that Next 18 does.

Nebel is a veteran and retired firefighter. In 2022 he attended a camp as a participant. He said it changed the course of his life.

“When I went to camp, my wife had filed for divorce,” Nebel said. “Some of the things I brought home from this camp helped with our communication, helped with our relationship.”

(Spectrum News 1/Megan Marshall)

With his job in the military and as a first responder in New Berlin, Nebel said he suffered from trauma that comes with his job.

“It affects everyone differently,” he says. “Some people show it a little more than others. Being able to come here with a bunch of veterans and first responders and share that stuff and get that off your chest. The most important thing is to talk.”

In the summer of 2022, he felt the impact of the organization himself. Now, two years later, he is a peer support specialist working to help other veterans and first responders succeed.

“I’m not here for the golf,” Nebel said. “As much as I am here for my brothers and sisters.”

(Spectrum News 1/Megan Marshall)

Next 18 founder and executive director Matthew McDonell said it has been special to see Nebel grow and be an example of what this program can do for its participants.

“His journey has been really amazing to watch,” McDonell said. “For me it is really a confirmation of what I do every day.”

Nebel said being out and about with other veterans and first responders is therapeutic and he can’t imagine a better way to give back to his community than through this program.