Ken Amaro of First Coast News Visits Once a Soldier

Ken Amaro of First Coast News Visits Once a Soldier

Soldier Suicide Gets Some Primetime Exposure

I’d like to thank Ken Amaro from First Coast News for doing a story on Once a Soldier. FCN enjoys helping veterans in the area and this was a great chance for us to get some serious local exposure. As a young nonprofit, and one that’s built from the digital ground up, credibility is one of our early year goals. I feel we’ve crossed some major milestones and are getting our feet solidly under us in that area. Ken answering my call is a great step up for us, and he will always be one of our Silver Linings.

By way of a story behind the story, I filled out Ken’s online intake form that asked for a brief description of the story. It wasn’t thirty minutes after I submitted it that he called and we set an appointment. Even more amazing, he came out to me and we shot the interview in an hour.

During that hour, Ken asked very good questions and allowed me to inform him about our mission, the need that we face, and how I found this cause. To answer that for you, it was a combination of a few things. First, I have a co-worker, Mallory, who was a young newlywed Navy bride. Her husband, a helicopter pilot, was deployed for 8 months. 8 months! It was then that I realized that the family serves just like the soldier does.

Second, a friend of mine on Facebook took up the 22 in 22 challenge that brought the issue to my attention. Finally, the Google ad grant allows those nonprofits who qualify a very generous monthly ad budget. Taking advantage of that to build this nonprofit, along with the emotional engagement, makes this a pleasure.

Ken Amaro also gave me a link to my site from his site. This is important for SEO for the nonprofit, as well. I’d like to ge more, and we will, but this is a good start.

On the downside, I don’t know if the story really captured what we do in the clearest manner. I know that the mission is simple, and Ken did a great job communicating that. I only watched it once, so I don’t want to make too much of any little off center part of his story. (for example, we’re a Ponte Vedra nonprofit, not a Jacksonville one.) He did a great job and I am thankful to him and his cameraman for doing such a professional job.

Click here to see the video that aired today.

Here’s is the transcript of their story found online:

Jacksonville nonprofit plans to help families of veterans who committed suicide
A 2013 study by the Department of Veteran Affairs found what some are calling the unimaginable. It revealed as many as 22 veterans commit suicide each day.
Author: Kenneth Amaro
Published: 5:05 PM EDT October 15, 2018
Updated: 7:21 PM EDT October 15, 2018
JACKSONVILLE, Fl — A 2013 study by the Department of Veteran Affairs found what some are calling the unimaginable. It revealed as many as 22 veterans commit suicide each day.

“You can’t even imagine it,” said David Barbush, “That’s correct. Twenty-two a day.”

Barbush, a social media marketing executive, said this public health issue has broader ramifications.

“That’s 22 families and they’re left with a mess to clean up financially and emotionally,” he said.

Inspired by a co-worker in 2017, Barbush created Once A Solider. It is a nonprofit to help those families.

“It is a heartbreaking event. I cry every time when I talk with them there’s a need out there,” said Barbush.

The VA’s maximum allowed burial benefits for the families of these veterans is $2000, not enough at times to help those left behind.

“It is a sad story in the best of circumstance they will get $1000 – $2000 for funeral benefits,” said Barbush.

He said he is not blaming the VA nor Congress, he is just helping families.

“We are going to do what we can one family at a time,” he said.

In January 2019, Once A Soldier will give the family of Cedrick Taylor of Connecticut $1000. In February, the nonprofit will provide help the family of Jerad Johns of South Carolina.

“We’re going to get one family every month,” he said, “That is my goal for 2019.”

Barbush was moved by an email he received from the mother of Cedrick Taylor. She simply said thank you for your help.

Barbush said Once A Solider is the silver lining for those military families coping with the darkness of suicide.

“Nonprofits have a way of getting things done when government cannot and that’s what this is getting things done,” he said.

The nonprofit has a major fundraiser planned for December. To learn more about Once A Soldier click on the link below:

Silver Lining Project: Soldier Suicide Video Memorial Page

Silver Lining Project: Soldier Suicide Video Memorial Page

Silver Lining Project: Soldier Suicide Video Memorial Page

Continuing our “silver lining” theme that is the core of what we do, we are excited to announce that our Memorial page will be called the Silver Linings Project – Video Memorials for Soldier Suicides. The goal of this page and the Silver Linings Project is to be a happy place where the good memories and brighter aspects of the soldier’s or veteran’s life and times can be saved and shared.

Much like Holocaust and World War II Museum’s Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive, our collection will not only be a place where history is preserved and accessible, but we hope to become more than the sum of our parts. While others sort our how to prevent war, prevent PTSD and the soldier and veteran suicides that come with it sometimes, the spread of terrorism and the care we take of our veterans, we will always focus on the families and their best interests.

How To Submit to the Silver Lining Project

Using your mobile device, record your best memory of your lost loved one. Maybe it was something they did on a vacation, night out or the first time you saw them as a soldier. Whatever it is, keep it short and simple so that we can make it easier to transfer it to our library and share it with others. A length of under a minute is a good rule of thumb. And remember, you don’t only have to do one. Becuase it’s short, and we know that memories can’t always follow an internet upload file limit, please feel free to contribute multiple short videos. We will be able to post them all and you will always to be able to find it.

Once you have shot your Silver Lining Project video, please e-mail it right from your phone to Google is our advertising partner and they offer great cloud storage we need. This isn’t an endorsement, but through their ad grant, we are able to reach out to more families and supporters than we could without them.  We also want to make the project a success and most importantly, easy for you to do. Please let us know via the same email any issues you may have had or how we can make it easier for everyone to upload.

Once a Soldier is to financially aid the families of soldier suicide and veteran suicide. Besides the shock of losing a loved one, the financial burden now placed upon them can be a blow that we can help soften. Please donate and help us be the silver lining in their dark times.