By: John Cuddy – March, 2022
Raised in Arlington, Massachusetts in veterans housing, and now living in Pelham, New Hampshire Scott Hyder, is the founder and current President of Hidden Battles. The non-profit organization strives to help preserve the healthy minds of veterans, fire fighters, police officers and other first responders.
The organization’s mission is to assist those in need of services, in locating treatment and counseling for depression, suicidal tendencies, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The February 2022 Valley Patriot article on John MacDonald, brought to light, to the Valley Patriot readers, the current veteran’s suicide crisis among young veterans that is gripping our nation. Since the World Trade Center attacks, three times as many veterans have taken their own life, as had been killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11.
Scott served the Merrimack Valley for nearly two decades as a Westford Massachusetts Police Officer. On June 10, 2012, after not hearing from his brother Nick for a few days, Scott drove to his brother’s house, only to find that Nick had taken his own life. Writing about that day on the Hidden Battles Website, Scott recalls the struggle he faced in the aftermath. “I’m not sure if there is one word or one emotion to describe the feeling over this loss. I was devastated, confused, torn up, sad for Nicky, sad for his children … angry.”
After Nick’s suicide, Scott began to work with a local suicide prevention and awareness team. As a member of Team Forever Young, Scott and his teammates participated in numerous “Out of The Darkness Walks”, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (ASFP). Team Forever Young became AFSP’s national top fundraising team, raising over $250,000 to date. Scott has publicly spoken on many occasions to people of all ages about suicide, suicide prevention and awareness.
Scott has seen the devastation to those left behind, “Suicide is not openly spoken about, and many people still find shame in admitting that they lost loved ones to suicide”. He started this foundation with the hopes of providing not only those individuals suffering, but also their families with a safe, non-judgmental environment for healing and coping.
One of the heartwarming stories Scott told me over breakfast at Pelham, New Hampshire’s “Broken Yoke”, was that of Harry Bologna, a retired Navy Seal, and double amputee from Virginia. The Seal got the surprise of his life when the Hidden Battles Foundation organized a surprise face-to-face meeting with his longtime hero, Lowell’s Irish Micky Ward.
Hidden Battles was running a virtual fundraiser, at the event, Master Chief Bologna won a personalized, autographed Micky Ward boxing glove donated by Team Micky Ward Charities. After learning the Master Chief was driving up I-95 on his way to Maine, Hidden Battles arranged a surprise in person presentation of the Boxing Glove by Micky Ward. Harry arrived, and a business partner of Micky Ward presented an unsigned glove, priceless, seeing the disappointment on the Master Chief’s face, they then brought in Mickey Ward to sign the glove.
Hidden Battles offers a myriad of activities for veterans and first responders. In a partnership with the YMCA, Hidden Battles provides weekly yoga classes for first responders and their spouses. The classes are offered to corrections officers, police, fire fighters, emergency medical technicians, nurses, veterans and military personnel.
Visiting the Hidden Battles website, one finds many photos of cornhole tournaments, concerts, formal dinners, cookouts, and many other community events. These events serve two purposes, raising money to help veterans and first responders, and getting these American heroes, out of the house, outside, and together for a few hours of very therapeutic camaraderie.
Scott Hyder says “We are expanding our programs to include Equine Therapy with three local organizations: Strong Water, Iron Stone, and Equine Immersion Project. Hidden Battles is also providing art therapy with the Currier Museum in New Hampshire, included are an archery program with Greater Lowell YMCA, and hero themed family events with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Rounding out the offerings are fly fishing classes and more couples themed events. Hidden Battles is also having staff members trained in life saving courses for people in crisis.
Scott wrote for the Valley Patriot on the relationship that is growing between Hidden Battles and the Greater Lowell YMCA, “We have built a great partnership to benefit our veterans, first responders and nurses. By working together on rebuilding the Camp Massapoag nurses’ station, we accomplished a mission of helping the Hidden Battles Community and in return directly impacted the community that the Greater Lowell YMCA serves. Our partnership grows daily, whether it’s the yoga program we attend or the archery program we will be partnering up with in the spring, we seem to have formed a very strong and resourceful bond between the two organizations.”
Scott is a ten-year military Veteran, serving our Nation, with the US Army as a Staff Sargent. His Military Occupational Specialty was 51 Hotel, a Construction Engineer, he served with the 368th Combat Engineers. In 2004, he was honorably discharged with the rank of Staff Sergeant. During his military career, he was deployed to Kosovo during the Balkans conflict, as well as Kenya and Panama for peace keeping missions.
For his work with Hidden Battles, Scott was awarded the Distinguished Veteran Award from the American Society for Public Administration in May of 2018. The Hidden Battles Foundation is a component fund of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation. Scott attended Middlesex Community studying Criminal Justice. Scott is married, with a six-year-old son and an eighteen-year-old daughter in college.
US Army Veteran, former Police Officer, Husband, Father, Community Leader, Scott Hyder is truly a “Hero in our Midst”.
Future Hidden Battles Events
Monthly Couples Cooking Class @ Roudenbush Center in Westford, MA
April Sunday morning Hiking locations to be TBA
March 12th Couples Cooking Class Roudenbush Center Westford, MA
March 19th Family Movie Night Chunky’s Cinema Nashua, NH
April 28th Hidden Battles Hero Night Baseball Fisher Cats NE. Delta Dental Stadium Manchester, NH
May 14th Family Movie Night Chunky’s Cinema Nashua, NH
May 21st “22 For the 22” 22k Ruck/Walk @ Newfound Lake, NH
July 9th Kayak Adventure in support of Swim with a Mission @ Newfound Lake, NH
July 28th Family Outing Canobie Lake Park, Salem, NH
Sept 24th Cornhole Event and Family Day at Cricket and Bunting Club Lowell, MA
Oct 7th Annual Golf Tournament Trull Brook CC. Tewksbury, MA
The Dracut American Legion asks all World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War Veterans, to call (603) 518-5368 and sign up for an Honor Flight to the Memorials in Washington DC! Veterans of all eras are asked to go the American Legion’s Web site www.legion.org, and join the American Legion, working with Congress, preserving our Veteran’s Benefits for future generations.
John Cuddy served in the US Navy’s Construction Battalions (also known as the Seabees) after retiring from the US Navy; he earned a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in economics from the University of Massachusetts on the Lowell Campus. He has been employed in Logistics at FedEx for the last 25 years. If you know a World War II, Korean War, or Vietnam War, Veteran who would like their story told, please email him at John.Cuddy@Yahoo.com ◊