Once A Soldier Advocacy for Veteran Funeral Loan Bill

Once A Soldier Advocacy for Veteran Funeral Loan Bill

Our Bill Outline For New Funeral Services Loan

Foot soldiers fightng for Veteran suicide postvention know that the strength of a Veteran family knows no bounds. Despite their sacrifice and paid-in-full status, paying the funeral expenses for an unexpected suicide is one challenge many can not meet. This bill outline is a critical step to fill this gap between the too-little, too-late Veterans’ Administration benefits and all or nothing standards of some funeral homes. Our local US Congressman John Rutherford, and his staff, continue to champion support needed for all American heroes. Their guidance will be critical to how far this bill can go.

magic mental health mushroom

Matt and Kristen Mahramus

You can see real love between these two. Matt left behind Kristen and their two children.

Veteran Funeral Loan Bill

Fueled by PTSD, TBI, MST and more, Veteran suicides continue to rise. However, increased postvention support for the families has not. VA death benefits arrive too late and too many Veteran families can’t bury their Veterans with dignity. This modest guaranteed loan will meet that need and close this gap.

Veteran Family Postvention Issue

  • VA death benefits offer no specialized support for suicide’s aftermath
  • Suicide victims typically leave behind no life insurance or savings
  • VA benefits end and leave the families without breadwinners

Key Solutions

  • Congress must enact legislation to create program
  • Would provide up to $2,000 – $8,000 for post 9/11 Veteran suicide families
  • Would be paid directly to the funeral services providers

Reasons to Believe

  • Recent COVID-19 funeral relief via FEMA proves it is possible
  • This solves our most immediate Veteran suicide postvention failure
  • The program would be limited in reach and scope  
  • VA death benefits, if any, would be directly applied to the loan balance

For more information, contact

Dave Barbush dave@onceasolider.org

904477999

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ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

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.

Links for More Information:

 

Three Stories For Three Years Working At Once A Soldier

Three Stories For Three Years Working At Once A Soldier

Their Stories Deserve Greater Awareness

With Congress, the VA, and major veteran service organizations all working to stop soldier suicide, our voice from the other side of preventions (postvention) is not as easily heard. Time will change that, but for now, we seem to be all that veteran families have in their time of need. As such, we hear the unfiltered messages of need and pain wrapped in the stories about what happened and why. The more people that hear these these stories, the faster the next family will get help.

I’ll start with the most recent family. From the midwest, Missouri. Mark killed himself in his car. He had just paid it off. His sister Teresa called the next day. Mark’s body was in the medical examiner’s office in St. Louis. Teresa said, “I don’t know what to do next.” Her voice sounded much older than her picture on Venmo looked. Teresa was able to pullcall despite that fact that she was in the middle of a crying jag.

She was still crying and short of breath. Mark was 58 years old. Ex-Marine. PTSD and alcoholism played a part in his life for I don’t know how many years. When those two problems are there, they are there for everyone around him. He was living with his parents. Teresa described them as having lost their mental awareness. They were; however, able to call the police and get the postvention ball rolling. 

Mickey

Once A Soldier is the Nation’s Leading Time of Need Postvention Service Provider

Izzy ZaZa was living with her long-serving husband Robert in Arizona. He served in Afghanistan. He befriended a teenager who his unit hired as their interpreter in one village. His unit left and returned to find that teenaged boy hanging from a pole. Years later, Robert went into a bathroom at home to kill himself. Izzy followed him in and tried to stop him. She got shot through her left hand and fell back. Robert shot himself in the chest.

Finally, there’s Mickey Keeney. I have lots of pictures of him given to me by his sister. Two stick out in my mind. One is him pinning his son as he enters the Army. The other one, above, was taken two days before Mickey killed himself. He was completley alone in his PTSD pain and it shows. He killed himself on that same couch that he’s sitting on in the picture. His eyes as swollen as his face had become. Soon his pain would be over, and his families would move to a new level. 

With the promise of help from Representative Rutherford, we hope to bring these stories to life in the halls of Congress in 2021. Until then, we will continue to answer the calls and listen to their stories.

 

$2,000 And A Thank You Note Is Not Enough

$2,000 And A Thank You Note Is Not Enough

John Rutherford & Once A Soldier Discuss Postvention & Veteran Suicide

On Sunday, October 25th, Once A Soldier hosted an outdoor, socially-distanced speakers forum in St. Augustine called, “Positive Progress” featuring Representative John Rutherford.

The impressive event included in-depth conversations with Once A Soldier Founder, Dave Barbush, board members, Stefanie Stark, and Kevin Jonhs, as well as Dr. Satyen Madkaiker. Each of these speakers touched on the importance of postvention, prioritizing treatment for PTSD, and providing additional funding for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

Congressman John Rutherford Speaking at Positive Progress Event

Well-Rounded Discussion Included Father Who Lost A Son To PTSD Veteran Suicide

The event began with moving speeches from our Founder, Dave Barbush, as well as Board President, Stefanie Stark. They both took the time to thank all in attendance, and spoke about why the mission of Once A Soldier is close to their hearts, and how the growth of Once A Soldier has helped numerous veteran families across the nation. 

After our leadership team finished speaking, the guests were treated to an informational speech by Board Certified Psychiatrist, Dr. Satyen Madkaiker. Dr. Madkaiker has had a private practice in Jacksonville since 2003, and has dedicated his career to treating individuals with psychiatric disorders and substance abuse issues. He has emphasized the importance of correctly diagnosing patients, and the use of medications and therapies that are tailor-made for each patient.  Dr. Madkaiker spoke about his extensive experience with evidence-based patient care, medication management, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and Ketamine Infusion Therapy, and how these treatments can help soldiers and veterans with PTSD.

Following Dr. Madkaiker, Board Member and recipient of one of our first Silver Linings grants, Kevin Johns gave a touching speech about the tragic loss of his son, Jared, to veteran suicide. Kevin spoke eloquently about his son’s life, his military service, and the love he had for his family. He also took the time to speak about the positive impact that Once A Soldier had in his family’s time of immense grief, and the positivity that Once A Soldier continues to bring to his life. 

Finally, as the event concluded, Representative John Rutherford gave an impressive speech detailing his support for our active service members and veterans over his time in office. He also acknowledged that there is still so much more that needs to be done to prevent and treat PTSD. As he continued, Representative Rutherford even reiterated the point that was made repeatedly throughout the evening, that “$2,000 and a Thank You note is not enough” to alleviate the very real mental and emotional scars that are so often the result of active combat. 

This event was a huge success, and Once A Soldier would like to thank everyone who was able to attend. To help Once A Soldier continue to help the families of veterans and soldiers who have committed suicide, consider donating to our organizaiton today! 

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

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.