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.

 

More Light Shed on Unaccounted Veteran Suicides

More Light Shed on Unaccounted Veteran Suicides

Research Collected By Operation Deep Dive Reveals Unaccounted Cases of Suicide

Operation Deep Dive (OpDD), is a community-based veteran suicide prevention study taking place in 14 states across the country. America’s Warrior Partnership (AWP) and researchers from the University of Alabama are leading this four-year study with a grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. Operation Deep Dive will conclude in December 2021. 

The bulk of the research involves AWP interviewing families and friends of Veteran suicide to better understand the lifestyle and habits of a Veteran in the last two years leading up to their death. If you or someone you know meets the requirement listed below, please contact:

Krystal Garcia

Program Associate

Email: kgarcia@americaswarriorpartnership.org

Call: 706-386-2431

Interviews Conducted In 14 States

The Real Picture of Veteran Suicide is Still Coming Into Focus

Early data has shown that some Veteran suicides are not being recorded. In Florida, state death certificates from 2014 to 2018 with DOD-verified service records reveals that 153 former service members who died by suicide were unaccounted in official records. This same comparison revealed 68 unaccounted cases of suicide in Minnesota during the same period. While comparisons from the remaining 12 states in the study are in progress, the analysis completed within these states is indicative of a more comprehensive gap under-representing the reality of veteran suicide.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

By participating in an Operation Deep Dive interview that aims to investigate the lives of veterans lost to suicide or a non-natural cause of death (overdose, asphyxiation, accidental gunshot, drowning, suicide by law enforcement, or high-speed, single-driver accident) within the last 24 months.

WHAT IS THE GOAL?

The goal is to examine how the deceased veteran was engaged within the community and how the community can better support our veterans in the future.

Your insight will contribute greatly to the formation of a proactive approach to preserving the life of service members and veterans!

PARTICIPANT REQUIREMENTS: 

Must be 18​ or older

A relative, loved one, friend, or co-worker to a deceased veteran who has died by suicide or from non-natural causes within the last 24 months

Located within one of the states listed below

Participant and veteran must have lived in the same community (metropolitan statistical area) prior to the veteran’s death

CONTACT OpDD

If you would like to get additional information about being a participant, please contact

Krystal Garcia

Program Associate

Email: kgarcia@americaswarriorpartnership.org

Call: 706-386-2431

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.