Santa Cruz Sentinel
By Ryan Masters,
Hutchinson detailed the horrors of the experience in a written account submitted to the VA before his death. He described the sights and sounds, the constant fear — how it felt to carry armloads of body parts; to x-ray badly-wounded men; to treat crippled and maimed Vietnamese children; to helplessly sit through mortar attacks; to watch men die.
Bernetta Hutchinson lost her U.S. veteran husband when he killed himself in 2014. Now she may also lose their Boulder Creek-area home. (Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel) Bernetta Hutchinson lost her U.S. veteran husband when he killed himself in 2014. Now she may also lose their Boulder Creek-area home. (Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)BOULDER CREEK On the morning of Oct. 24, 2014, Bernetta Hutchinson woke up in the Forest Springs neighborhood home she shared with her husband Terry. Wandering sleepily out to the living room, she found a note on the table. It began, “Bernetta, I am sorry. Call the VA.”
As she finished the short note, she went to their grown daughter’s bedroom, fell to her knees and prayed she was misinterpreting the suicide note; that somehow her husband was still alive.
And then, Hutchinson said, God guided her out the door and 50 yards into the redwood forest behind their home where she found her husband of 29 years, 7 months seated against a tree with his head bowed.
The 67-year-old Vietnam Veteran had shot and killed himself with a Glock handgun, becoming another casualty of the United States’ ongoing inability to heal its warriors after they return from the battlefield.
Kathie Dicesare, who runs the Wounded Times web blog and has been working on PTSD since 1982, said the VA reported 20 veteran suicides a day in 1999 — the exact same number of veteran suicides a day in 2016.
“In the 2000 Census, there were 26.4 million veterans; in 2014, there were 21,369,602. That’s the same number of reported suicides despite 5 million less veterans,” said Dicesare.
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(Yes, that is me quoted.)