Thursday, January 3, 2013

Family wants to prevent soldier suicides after son takes own life

Family: Combat veteran commits suicide
Record Eagle
January 2, 2013

BEULAH — Eric Lewis Harm survived combat in Afghanistan, but he couldn’t survive coming home.

The decorated Army combat veteran was found dead Dec. 28, an apparent suicide in Manistee County, four months after he left the military. Harm, 24, was a 2007 graduate of Benzie Central schools and grew up in Almira Township.

His family said combat trauma played a role in his decision to take his own life.

“He was just always a happy guy, always looking to help other people and do good,” said his aunt, Dwin Dykema.

“He couldn’t deal with the things that he saw over there.”

A Manistee County sheriff’s sergeant declined comment on the cause of death, citing an open investigation.

The tragedy has Dykema and Harm’s parents wanting to help other veterans deal with the stress of life after combat. Dykema also started an online fundraising campaign to help pay for Harm’s funeral.

“There needs to be more awareness,” Dykema said. “These guys don’t come home with a care package. We are going to move forward and see if we can start a (veterans’ assistance) initiative.”

U.S. Army spokesman Mark Edwards said Harm was a motor transport operator on active duty from May 2009 to September 2012. His initial training was at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and his duty station was at Fort Knox, Ky. Harm deployed to Afghanistan from January 2011 to January 2012.

The problem of veterans taking their lives after combat is not a new tragedy to northern Michigan. U.S. Army Sgt. Joseph H. Baker II, 32, bottled up his emotions and ultimately took his own life in January 2011 in Antrim County. Family members said Baker suffered from terrifying nightmares and other symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
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1 comment:

  1. Yet one more I better stop reading but I do have to make comment on the very bottom of the article which talks about someone who bottled up their emotions and took their life in January 2011. January 2011 is when Kimberly finally let it all out to a doctor Who counseled her and told her to get a TBI test but did not include any of it in their notes and I have no idea who this doctor is But then I thought she was on the road to recovery when she landed the job of her dreams by becoming a member of the European Army band and chorus as a vocalist and assistant choreographer. I am guessing because of the rigorous schedule she had that she did not get help until May when she was diagnosed with a TBI. What happened between May and September 6 2011, When she made the first attempt on her life Is a void in a mystery and I'm angry but yet angrier over what happened between September 6 and October 3 when she succeeded in taking her life. I have since learned that her death has had a briefing over in Germany and there was no findings of bullying which is terribly wrong because I have information and there is things in sworn statements that lend to it. If the Army wants to change it they have to read what's in their own reports and ask the right questions to the right people Instead of continuing to sweep it under the carpet. But also have to make the right diagnosis and put these heroes on the right medications and watch them. I was told personally that her friends turned their backs on her because they thought she was seeking attention. I know that for a fact. Does the army care to know what I know or just what their soldiers are willing to express. I'm tired of them saying they want to be serious on the subject when in fact they don't want to listen to people who know or who will tell them things their own soldiers won't. Just one example here in my comment, not too long after Kim joined the chorus she frantically called me from Germany to deactivate her Facebook account because of the bullying. Why else would she do that why would she tell me that unless it was happening? She also had the wrong diagnosis they refused to say she had PTSD. How can you not have that when a bomb explodes in your face and gives you a traumatic brain injury? Then just like the soldier mentioned at the very end of the article she hid all of her injury and the effects from the injury for fear of losing her job with the army. There are just too many things that are wrong about all of this and the army is just as much at fault for not wanting to learn or to know. One other comment is after she died yes after, I found out she had been raped either in high school or right after which qualifies in and of itself for PTSD however she hid that too... BUT THE DOCTOR'S KNEW.... SHE TOLD THEM..... I am truly hoping that somewhere down the line that I can get out a story and it will be called "Kim's Story" so that it too, Her legacy, her memory, can help other families but mainly make the army take a look at itself and the way it handles these cases and look within themselves to see what they really could have done because I know that there is something... we all know there is something...

    ~ Margy Agar


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