Philip “PJ” Schrantz
Co-founder & President of Thrive Veterans Center
P.J. was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. and as a young boy dreamed of becoming a New York City fireman. His inspiration to become a fireman was his Godfather, Bill Wren. Bill was a NYC fireman and his dad’s best friend. As with every fireman, Bill was a humble family man. Always there for people when needed. Bill retired a lieutenant from the NYC Fire Department before taking a position as Director of Fire Safety at the World Trade Center. Bill was killed in the attacks on 9-11.
P.J. Schrantz’s charitable endeavors have been featured on such shows as the TODAY SHOW & CBS Evening News. Along with being covered by over 400 press and media outlets.
Before becoming a NYC fireman, P.J. enlisted in the U.S. Army. During this time P.J.’s innate leadership skills were further shaped and birthed. Always one to take action, P.J. stands strong and without waiver for that which he believes. That said, he passionately believes the current issues our hero Veterans are dealing with are issues he MUST take action on. P.J.’s mission in life is to bring awareness of Veterans issues to the masses. It is his unyielding hope that such awareness will spark a movement throughout our great nation and lead our heroes to attainment of the BEST treatments available.
P.J.’s passion and dedication run deep within his inner core. Fondly, he reflects daily on those closest to him that are no longer here. His loved ones and their memories are forever sketched in his heart, thus fueling his “FIRE” on a daily basis. First, is his son Dustin. As P.J. was going through “Hell’ at Ground Zero on 9-11, his first-born son Dustin was at home battling leukemia. Dustin was diagnosed at the age of 2-1/2 and died in his arms when he was just 7 years old. Second, is his Godfather, Bill Wren, who died a 9-11 hero. Third, is Jason (“Jay”) Workman, P.J.’s “brother from another mother” (P.J.’s brother-in-law Tim’s youngest brother). Jason was a member of SEAL Team 6 and was killed in Afghanistan. Also, another of P.J.’s dearest friends, Danny Johnston, was a decorated Airborne Ranger and a retired NYC police officer. Danny died from alcohol and drug addiction brought upon by PTSD. Consequently, the opioid epidemic, as well as, other drug and alcohol issues are at the forefront of P.J.’s current mission.
In addition, P.J.’s extensive personal experiences include convincing a homeless, drug addicted Army Veteran from jumping off a bridge in Cleveland, Ohio. P.J. recalls this painstaking experience as the longest twenty or so minutes of his life. He remembers vividly how the Army Veteran looked him in the eyes telling him of his two tours in Fallujah, Iraq and his feeling “empty” and “alone”. Had P.J. not interceded on that fateful day yet another one of our heroic Veterans would have accomplished his mission to commit suicide. Sadly, staggering statistics report, that twenty-two Veterans a day commit suicide. YES, twenty-two a day!
Collectively, each of these distinct people and experiences has propelled P.J. to found, “Velieve.Org”, a 501(3)c charity which is all about helping our Veterans. It, too, further convinced him of the tremendous need for the people of our country to know of such issues Veterans deal with on a daily basis. As a direct result of this realization, P.J. created the “Serving Those” Vodcast. This Vodcast will showcase some of our hero Veterans. P.J. will interview some of our country’s most notable politicians, celebrities and top business executives. All with the focus of getting our heroes the treatments they have EARNED!!!
Please help us, help our heroes. Our “Calling” is to “Serve Those Who Have Served”. It is our sole mission and we will do this to the best of our abilities!