Once a Soldier FAQs That You Should Know

We Are 100% Volunteer


How We Gift

Families email or call us and through our process, we agree on services that will benefit them the most.


Who We Gift

The charity endeavors to support the immediate family members. We follow the VA’s general program list of eligible survivors.


What We Gift

Our counseling services are free, and our financial crisis aid ranges up to $1,000 per family. If we have more we can give more.


Why We Care

We’ve seen the courage and spirit of the families left behind during deployment. Now they must carry on without their soldiers forever.

Interview on First Coast Connect

by Melissa Ross - WJCT Host

Our Story

Our passion for helping the families of veteran suicide came in through the back door. Our leadership brings a long history of serving a wide array of non-profits all over the country. And that history isn’t from long ago or from just the older crowd. Inspired by the “22” awareness soldier suicide social media campaigns, Once a Soldier is made up of Baby Boomers, Millenials and Gen X’ers.

This varied group has fed children and fixed the trucks that got the food there. They’ve help the USO raise money for their No-Dough Dinners. They helped both young girls adults in their 50s and 60s – both suffering from rare neuroligical disorders specific to their age group, feel the love and hope that only comes with research funds raised.

We promise that as we grow and give more and more to the families, we will get better at all aspects of helping these veteran suicide survivors. There is no road map, no one else does this. We are pioneers in a landscape full of other veteran charities. We hope you see our value, our sincerity, and give us your supoprt.

Once a Soldier

No matter what happened to these men and women, these American service men and women, they were once a father or mother, a sister or brother. They were once happy and proud. They were once a soldier.

Who’s Committing
Soldier Suicide:


50 + Years Old


23-49 Years Old


New Recruits - 1st Year

Our Two-Phase Approach to the Mission

Phase One: As we are newly minted in late 2017, becoming financially stable while we raise awareness is our mandate.

Phase Two: With the first dollars available, we will gift the first of our veteran suicide.

Our Mission is Simple

Ease or erase the financial burden of the funeral costs after a soldier suicide.

About Dave Barbush

About Dave Barbush

Founder - CEO

The son of a Navy veteran, Dave now lives in Jacksonville, Florida – home to three Navy installations. My Dad’s giving heart beats in me and his willingness to take care of others is organic to this cause.  Combining that with the sacrifice that veteran families make has inspired Once a Soldier to make a big difference.

From the Founder:

When I decided to start Once a Soldier, my hope was to create a nonprofit the likes of which hadn’t been seen before. So we had to find a group that we felt was in need and that those needs were being neglected. We succeeded in two ways.

First, the cause is unique. There is a plethora of soldier suicide nonprofits, but after looking at the reports, we saw that as a misnomer. Soldier suicide is really veteran suicide as 13 of the 20 suicides a day are done by veterans.

Secondly, we wanted to be as digital as possible. With finances being our gift to the families to create a silver lining, we wanted to create an easy to scale way of raising funds for the families. We need no employees (at this time) and so our costs are very small.

After getting to know the families left behind, I’m satisfied that both ways are succeeding and that I will never run out of passion for the cause. Please give what you can and feel good about it.

I would like to thank you for all that you do.  I am truly thankful for your dedication to knowing the problem and trying to make others aware of the tragedy soldiers & their families endure. It has really, really been a hard road.  I wish every day that Cedrick was here and I was the one God called. So sad. 

Helen Taylor

Mother of Cedrick Taylor

This is a great resource for families that are faced with the hardships that come with veteran soldier suicide. 

Kevin Johns

Father of Jerod Johns