Sunday, June 19, 2016

Task Force Listens To Veterans Families About Suicide

Fox Valley military families share stories with task force studying veteran suicide
Aurora Beacon-News

Linda Girardi
June 18, 2106

Andy Weiss said his son completed three tours in Afghanistan and was preparing for his fourth deployment when he died from suicide.

"I knew there were risks associated with serving," the Naperville father said. "They told me my son died from suicide. I thought it was not possible."

Andy Weiss said son 1st Lt. Daniel A. Weiss enlisted in the U.S. Army infantry at age 17. His death March 4, 2012, at age 25 suddenly thrust his father into having "to grapple with the stigmas" associated with suicide, he said.

"I thought suicide wasn't possible in my family. It's possible in any family," Weiss said.
State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego A task force headed by State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, aimed at preventing suicides among veterans convened at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove. Kifowit listens to testimony from veterans and family members of veterans. (Linda Girardi / The Beacon-News)
Max Ludwig, 66, of Aurora, said he enlisted in the Army in 1969 and served 26 months in Vietnam. He spoke with emotion about how difficult it was to make the transition from the military to civilian life.

"Back then, if you talked about how you felt, you were not a man. There was no help," he said. "All I wanted was the hurt to go away."

Ludwig said he eventually reached out to a crisis hotline. "I came to understand I am worth something," he said. Ludwig said he is receiving counseling that is helping him.
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