Congressional Legislative Director Nick Vance Meets With Once a Soldier

Representative John Rutherford (R) Represents Our Home District

After our first productive meeting in August of 2019 with Florida Representative John Rutherford’s District Director Chris Miller, we took the next step and met with Nick Vance, the Legislative Director.

“It’s a very long road for a bill to become a law, but we’re on the path now. This will be a big win for our veteran families of soldier suicide.” says David Barbush, Founder and CEO of Once a Soldier. Those sentiments came just after Mr. Barbush’s meeting with Representative John Rutherford’s Legislative Director Nick Vance.

During the 30-minute exchange, Mr. Vance showed a clear understanding of how best to advance our common goals. There was also a clear message of writing a bill that would grant funds for those programs that would help with the emotional support needed by veteran families after a suicide.

Next Steps for Our Families

Once a Soldier offered to bring one of our families to Washington D. C. to let Congress hear their stories first hand. That offer was accepted even though no date or clear opportunity was identified.

Secondly, Once a Soldier also offered to pen a first draft with preface language that would set the table for the details of the bill. That offer was graciously passed upon, as the office of Florida’s Fourth District congressman can take the lead.

Furthermore, timely follow-up on the progress was promised by Mr. Vance as he navigates his landscape inside the halls of Congress. Recent bills related to our cause were forwarded by Mr. Rutherford. The PAWS Act would mandate the financial support for nonprofit veteran charities that train PTSD service dogs and their veteran owners. That Act is still trying to get passed, but it shows that we have a friend in the right place.



Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.