Thursday, January 31, 2019

Suicide Prevention Office Sucks At Saving Lives

Active-Duty Military Suicides at Record Highs in 2018


Military.com
Patricia Kime
January 30, 2019

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include Army year-end totals.


The U.S. military finished 2018 with a troubling, sad statistic: It experienced the highest number of suicides among active-duty personnel in at least six years.
Lt. Cmdr. Karen Downer writes a name on a Suicide Awareness Memorial Canvas in honor of Suicide Awareness Month at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Sept. 10, 2018. (U.S. Navy/Jacob Sippel, Naval Hospital Jacksonville).
Active duty Military members could save more with GEICO. Get a quote today! A total of 321 active-duty members took their lives during the year, including 57 Marines, 68 sailors, 58 airmen, and 138 soldiers.

The deaths equal the total number of active-duty personnel who died by suicide in 2012, the record since the services began closely tracking the issue in 2001.

Suicide continues to present a challenge to the Pentagon and the military services, which have instituted numerous programs to save lives, raise awareness and promote prevention. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, in his 2019 guidance to Marines released Friday, urged them to consider the lasting impact that a "permanent solution to a temporary problem" can have.


According to Air Force officials, 58 active-duty airmen took their lives, while three Reserve members died by their own hands. The number represents a decline from previous years, down from 63 in 2015 and 2017, and 61 in 2016, but is still troubling, said Brig. Gen. Michael Martin, director of Air Force Integrated Resilience.
read more here

Man swindled disabled veterans had to pay a buck?

Man who reportedly swindled veterans out of retirement and disability pay for 7 years fined $1


Military Times
J.D. Simkins
January 30, 2019

Bilk veterans out of disability and retirement pay for seven years? Your settlement, sir, is a McChicken sandwich.

A man accused of issuing cash-advance loans with excessively high-interest rates to veterans while disguising the transactions as interest-free sales was ordered to pay a settlement after it was determined he “caused substantial injury” by swindling veterans out of their disability and retirement pay.

Serving as a financial agent for several lending companies from 2011 to 2018, Mark Corbett would reportedly offer to send lump sum payments to veterans — some payments were in the tens of thousands of dollars — in exchange for receiving all or part of the veteran’s monthly pension or disability payments for a period of five to 10 years, according to a Jan. 23 consent order.

And what did the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau deem to be a necessary settlement for these fraudulent transactions? One dollar, which he was comically ordered to pay within 10 days via wire transfer or else suffer the accrual of interest on said dollar.
read more here

"It doesn't go away at the end of the shift."

'I remember every tragic thing I've seen' - Local firefighters open up about mental health


News Channel 9
Kayla Strayer
January 30, 2019
"The worst things that I've personally seen are burn injuries to children," Hyman said. "Trauma to children, those are some of the worst ones."
The Chattanooga Fire Department launched a peer support program in an effort to help firefighters deal with the mental stress of their jobs. (Image: Jim Lewis)

It doesn't go away at the end of the shift. 


"I remember every tragic thing I've seen, especially kids," Lewis said.


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.
Suicides among first responders are on the rise, says Chattanooga Fire Chief Phil Hyman.

"Our firefighter suicides throughout the nation have actually exceeded the line of duty deaths that we have," Chief Hyman said. "In 2017 we had 103 firefighter suicides, and only 93 line of duty deaths."

First responders deal with death and destruction, sometimes on a daily basis.

"We expose our members to a lot of bad stuff that's the nature of our job," Hyman said. "Most of the stuff you see you can't unsee."

Dallas Bay Volunteer Firefighter and Chaplain Jim Lewis says, "It's a slideshow in your head."

A sickening slideshow of tragic images.
read more here

VA decided to link up with two other groups

VA announces broad suicide prevention partnership and safe firearm storage partnership


WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it has recently formalized two partnerships aimed at preventing Veteran suicide.

Effective January, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) began collaborating with VA to advance and improve the quality of life for Veterans to prevent suicides. Through this partnership, VA and AFSP have been exchanging research on suicide and prevention efforts. AFSP has also begun sharing VA suicide-prevention messaging.

Effective last November, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) began working with VA to develop a program that will empower communities to engage in safe firearm-storage practices. The program will include information to help communities create coalitions around promoting and sustaining firearm safety with an emphasis on service members, Veterans and their families.

“We want all Americans to know that suicide is preventable.” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “By working with local organizations and community partners, we’re confident that we can make a meaningful difference to reduce suicide among Veterans.”

These innovative partnerships highlight the shared mission between the VA, nonprofit organizations and local communities to end suicide among those who have served or are currently serving.

Research shows there is no single cause for suicide: It is the outcome of multiple contributing factors and events. However, environmental factors, such as access to lethal means, increase the risk for suicide. Firearms are one of the most deadly and common methods for suicide among Americans — particularly for service members and Veterans.

Veterans in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a Veteran in crisis, can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat, or text to 838255.

Reporters covering Veteran mental health issues can visit ReportingOnSuicide.org for important guidance

**Is this where the unspent money went from last year?**

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Blue Water Veteran Wins in Court

Court decides 'Blue Water' Navy veterans should be eligible for Agent Orange benefit


Stars and Stripes
Nikki Wentling
January 29, 2019

WASHINGTON — A federal court ruled Tuesday that Vietnam veterans who served on ships offshore during the war are eligible for benefits to treat illnesses linked to exposure to the chemical herbicide Agent Orange – a decision that has the potential to extend help to thousands of veterans.

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled 9-2 in favor of Alfred Procopio, Jr., 73, who served on the USS Intrepid during the Vietnam War. Procopio is one of tens of thousands of “Blue Water” Navy veterans who served aboard aircraft carriers, destroyers and other ships and were deemed ineligible for the same disability benefits as those veterans who served on the ground and inland waterways.

The decision comes one decade after the Department of Veterans Affairs denied Procopio’s disability claims for diabetes and prostate cancer. The court’s ruling reverses a previous decision from the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, which upheld the denial because Procopio couldn’t show direct exposure to Agent Orange.

“Mr. Procopio is entitled to a presumption of service connection for his prostate cancer and diabetes mellitus,” the decision issued Tuesday states. “Accordingly, we reverse.”

Judge Kimberly A. Moore, who wrote on behalf of the majority, added: “We find no merit in the government’s arguments to the contrary.”
read more here

Last ride for Rolling Thunder?

Rolling Thunder: Lack of money to silence POW/MIA support run


Smyrna-Clayton Sun Times
Jeff Brown
January 30, 2019

For the past 30 years, Rolling Thunder has sponsored a ride to Washington, D.C. to remind the public about POWs and MIAs. This year will be its last.
The rumble of motorcycles rolling across the nation’s capital in memory of America’s missing service members and prisoners of war is on the road to becoming a thing of the past.

The yearly event, sponsored by the New Jersey-based Rolling Thunder, Inc., will end with its 32nd ride in May 2019, Executive Director Artie Muller and President Joe Bean announced in December.

Since 1988, Rolling Thunder’s annual First Amendment Demonstration Ride has seen hundreds of thousands of bikers and supporters converge on Washington, D.C., in support of the MIA/POW cause. The first event attracted about 2,000 bikers; more than a half-million turned out for the 2018 event.

Delawareans who ride in support of Rolling Thunder were shocked to learn the news.
Bikers coming in from across the country traditionally assemble in parking lots around the Pentagon, where Rolling Thunder would sell products such as pins, patches, and flags to raise additional money.

A particular point of contention, according to Muller, was a growing lack of cooperation with security forces at the Pentagon who he accused of diverting the bikers and not allowing them to enter the parking lots, which also prevented participants from buying Rolling Thunder products.

Department of Defense spokeswoman Susan L. Gough has denied those charges, saying the DoD is focused on supporting Rolling Thunder’s right to protest while at the same time ensuring the safety and security of both the bikers and the Pentagon complex itself.
read more here

PTSD FOR THE FNGs

PTSD is an old wound and so are most of our veterans


Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 30, 2019



If you do not know what FNG stands for, look it up. I'll wait...now you know.

This morning driving to work, I had my usual radio station on. WMMO plays music from the 70's. Considering that is my generation, the listeners are far from FNGs. 

As usual, I had to hear the nauseating commercial for the famous, or as our generation refers to it as, infamous veterans charity. Normally I have a spontaneous zap on the channel switch, but this morning I found myself yelling at the radio instead of saving myself the grief of listening to the damn thing!

It was like getting slapped in the head over and over again! By the time I heard their registered slogan at the end, I was pretty much out of my mind.

Wounded Warrior Project - The greatest casualty is being forgotten.® ... the Advance Guard monthly giving program for $19 a month and receive a WWP blanket.
Yes, they actually registered that slogan! The thing is, the commercial plays on a station for older people, including a lot of older veterans.

Why is this such a torn in my side? This group does absolutely nothing for the generation they avoid mentioning! They are only interested in OEF and OIF veterans. YEP! They consistently leave that part out.

No one is saying that the new generation does not deserve help. No one is saying there is anything wrong with so many charities focusing on their needs. What is wrong IS WHEN THEY DO NOT MENTION THAT FACT TO THE PUBLIC especially when they are asking for the pubic to donate to them.

Sure, they run down a list of what PTSD was called before, but fail to even begin to acknowledge how most of the veterans in this country are not OEF or OIF. THEY ARE OLDER! They waited longer, fought harder and made sure that the government accepted their disabilities as a price of sending them into combat.

We know all that! The problem is, the majority of the people in this country have no clue.

The commercial says that PTSD effects one out of five Iraq and Afghanistan veterans right after it lists the other terms given to the wound that has stricken veterans since the beginning of war itself. So the "today" it is called, is BS. Oh, by the way, it hit one out of three Vietnam veterans.

It claims that "today" it is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Too bad the commercial itself shows how they forgot a lot of veterans, especially the ones who have to endure that BS FUBAR crap coming over their favorite radio station.

PTSD is called that because Vietnam veterans came home and fought for it to be recognized as a war wound, and they fought for all generations. They wanted to make sure that no generation left another behind. 

Since the known number of veterans committing suicide are in fact mostly over the age of 50, you'd think that should matter, but it doesn't to any of the new groups popping up pretending that no one was doing anything before they came along.

While Vietnam veterans used their strength in numbers for the greater good, the FNGs use their stupefied social media skills for the mighty buck.

Considering that according to all the known data on PTSD and suicide, we had much better results before this wound was turned into a billion dollar industry, we're screaming BOHICA incoming FNGs mucking up everything we achieved.

In Vietnam, they went into units as strangers, one at a time. The FNG was someone to stay away from until they proved themselves to the rest of the unit. So when do we actually see proof from this group, or any of the other groups that popped up? 

When does this group mention the fact that a huge chunk of the money that is donated to them actually ends up being given to colleges as grants, instead of to the veterans that need services?

Emory Healthcare was one of the recipients, among many more.
The Emory Healthcare Veterans Program has received a five-year, $29.2 million-dollar grant from Wounded Warrior Project to further its work providing transformative care for Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI),dd depression and anxiety.The Emory Healthcare Veterans Program is one of four U.S. programs that are part of Wounded Warrior Project’s Warrior Care Network, a first-of-its-kind treatment partnership that provides world class mental health care to Veterans or servicemembers who served/deployed after 9/11.


Oh, sorry, guess they just forgot to leave that part out too. 

They did do something good up in Boston with the Red Sox Home Base and Mass General Hospital.
Home Base, a partnership between the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital, has announced a $65 million grant from the Wounded Warrior Project in support of mental health care for military veterans and their family members.The commitment — $3 million for a capital campaign to establish a National Center of Excellence in the Charlestown Navy Yard and $62 million to Mass General to expand its clinical services — will fund Home Base's continued participation in the Warrior Care Network, which connects wounded veterans and their families to high-quality individualized mental health care. 

Don't get me wrong here. They do some good butwhy is that commercial playing on our age group station? Because they hope that no one notices what they do not say and twist things up to the point that we forget that we have been forgotten...or not even worth mentioning?

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Houston Police Officer recovering after third time being shot on the job

Houston police officer rushed into gunbattle "because I knew my guys were down"


CBS News
Alex Sundby
January 29, 2019
The police department said in a statement later Tuesday that the 54-year-old officer was shot in the neck and listed in serious but stable condition. At the press conference, Acevedo described the officer as a "big teddy bear" who was also shot in the line of duty in 1992 and 1997.


A veteran Houston police officer who was shot after rushing into a gunbattle at a suspected drug house to help two of his wounded colleagues said he had to do it "because I knew my guys were down," the city's police chief said Tuesday. The officer, who has been on the police force for 32 years, was shot for the third time in his career Monday, Chief Art Acevedo said at a press conference.
"'I had to get in there because I knew my guys were down,'" Acevedo said the officer, 54, wrote in a note. "That just speaks volumes as to this man and just his courage under fire."

Four officers in total were shot Monday, and a fifth suffered a knee injury in the gunbattle, which stemmed from an attempt to serve a search warrant. Acevedo didn't identify the officers because they all work undercover in narcotics.
read more here

Boots on Ground Founder indicted for embezzlement

Founder of veteran's non-profit arraigned on embezzlement charges


January 29, 2019

According to a federal indictment, Azevedo-Laboda used funds donated to Boots on Ground for personal bills made out to several companies, including Time Warner, First Energy, and National Fuel.
The founder of an Erie non-profit appears in federal court this morning.

Over the years, the Erie Community has gotten to know Venus Azevedo-Laboda for her work with veterans, but today, several of those veterans showed up to the hearing, many saying they're not surprised by the charges.

Azevedo-Laboda is accused of embezzling more than $7,000 from the non-profit she created, Boots on Ground.

The organization provides services to veterans transitioning back into civilian life and recovering from numerous disorders including post-traumatic stress.
read more here

Monday, January 28, 2019

Researcher "listening to the dead" to prevent more suicides

'Like hearing their voices': Researcher analyzes suicide notes to save lives


CTV News
Daniel Otis, CTVNews.ca Writer
Avis Favaro, Medical Specialist, CTV National News
Elizabeth St. Philip, CTV News
Published Sunday, January 27, 2019

The search for clues about why people choose to die by suicide often starts with the words they leave behind. Dr. Rahel Eynan, a scientist with the Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ont., is unravelling such mysteries one heart-wrenching note at a time.
“When I’ll open a file, in my head I’ll say, ‘Tell me your story,’” she told CTV News. “Sometimes you actually can feel the pain of the individual that wrote them.”

In a 2018 study published by The American Association of Suicidology, Eynan analyzed 383 suicide notes left by children as young as 11 and adults as old as 98 to find signs that can be used to identify and help others who are at risk.
“About 57 per cent expressed love for others,” she explained. “Very few expressed that they felt loved… About 53 per cent expressed ‘sorry’ and apologies.”

Half, Eynan also found, were escaping illness, physical or psychological pain.

“They are so constricted in their thinking that they don’t see any other option -- the only option is to die,” she said.
read more here

Afghanistan veteran left over 4 hour video before suicide

If you listen to any Podcast, take the time for this one. Then maybe you'll want to make a difference before it is too late for someone you love!

The Morning Call Podcast: Carbon County soldier was tormented by wars – abroad and at home


The Morning Call
By Kayla DwyerContact Reporter
January 28, 2019

Michael Wargo's battle was long and extremely well hidden.
Michael Wargo hid his PTSD from everyone, then paid the ultimate price. His parents are working to prevent others from enduring the same tragedy. (Contributed Photo)


He spent 10 months in Afghanistan, then eight years battling PTSD, then four and a half hours explaining his life-altering decision in a video his parents received when it was too late to change anything.

A recent audit of the Veterans Administration shows they had millions of dollars budgeted for veteran suicide awareness that went unspent last year.

This week on The Morning call Podcast, columnist Paul Muschick explains what happened, and the Wargos explain the stakes.
read more here

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Marine Corps Suicide At 10 Year High

update from Military.com

The U.S. military finished 2018 with a troubling, sad statistic -- it experienced the highest number of suicides among active-duty personnel in at least six years.
Without the Army reporting the number of soldiers who died by suicide in the last quarter of 2018, a total of 286 active-duty members took their lives during the year, including 57 Marines, 68 sailors, 58 airmen and, through Oct. 1, 103 Army soldiers.

The deaths equal the total number of active-duty personnel who died by suicide in 2017. With the Army's fourth-quarter data, could reach the record 321 suicides recorded in 2012.

update from CNN Sixty-eight active duty Navy personnel died by suicide in 2018 with 57 cases among the Marine Corps, according to data obtained by CNN. Another 18 Marines in the Reserve forces either are confirmed to have committed suicide or their deaths are being investigated as suspected suicides.


No More Excuses

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 27, 2019

The number of service members committing suicide continues to rise. The number of veterans committing suicide continues to rise. The number of people actually in charge with a clue of what needs to be done, continues to be absent without leave!!!! Yes, they are AWOL!

How is it that there are people all over this country knowing exactly what works, what the troops need to hear, what veterans need to hear, YET WE ARE NEVER HEARD BY THOSE IN CHARGE? How is it that we have known what works for decades but the "experts" are clueless? 

They come up with slogans when we come up with results. They come up with excuses, when we come up with plans.

What makes all of this worse for us is, we know there is absolutely no need of all this suffering when they could be healing and still serving.

This is totally unacceptable because all of these suicides were preventable!

Suicide rate among active-duty Marines at a 10-year high


CNN
Barbara Starr
January 25, 2019
"While there is no dishonor in coming up short, or needing help, there is no honor in quitting. For those who are struggling ... our Marine Corps, our families, and our Nation need you; we can't afford to lose you." General Robert Neller

(CNN)The number of confirmed and suspected suicides in the active-duty Marine Corps reached a 10-year high in 2018 with 57 cases, according to new Marine Corps data obtained by CNN.

The United States Marine Corps emblem hanging on a wall at the Joint Detention Forces Headquarters at Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base, Cuba, April 09, 2014. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV
Another 18 Marines in the Reserve forces either are confirmed to have committed suicide or their deaths are being investigated as suspected suicides.

Marine Corps sources say the service is concerned that 2018 may have seen 75 suicides even with the extensive mental health programs available. Many of the cases are young Marines who have not deployed overseas and have not been in combat -- a situation that has been seen in other branches of the military as well.

"Don't make them just numbers," one Marine Corps official pleaded when making the data available to CNN.
read more here

Yet again, one more reminder that when the DOD bought all the FUBAR "resilience" BS, they failed to notice that if it did not work for those who did not deploy, THEN IT WOULD NOT WORK FOR THOSE WHO WERE DEPLOYED MULTIPLE TIMES!!!

Here are a couple of videos from a Marine veteran with PTSD. Listen to him and know that you can #TakeBackYourLife and live stronger!

Kathie Costos DiCesare
Published on Dec 31, 2016
This is Jonnie. He has survived three attempted suicides and spent time as a homeless veteran. A year ago, he never thought he would be where he is today. He is healing and he wants to make sure other veterans get the message of something worth living for instead of the message spread about suicides. Spend next year healing and let this New Year be the year you begin to change again, only this time, for the better!
Kathie Costos DiCesare
Published on Mar 11, 2018
Sunday morning empowerment zone features Marine veteran filmed yesterday at the Orlando Nam Knights bikeweek party. His simple message is empowerment! Take control of your life from this moment on. It's up to you where you go from here!


Kathie Costos DiCesare
Published on Apr 14, 2018
My buddy Jonnie has been fighting to take his life back from PTSD. He is doing everything possible to make his life better. Working on his mind, his spirit and his body! He is at the American Combat Club in Downtown Orlando.

Kathie Costos DiCesare
Published on Jul 22, 2018
PTSD Patrol Sunday Morning Empowerment Zone Jonnie shares his message of getting in control over the road you choose to be on. You can sit back and feel miserable as a victim or you can choose the road to heal as a survivor.

Cross posted on PTSD Patrol

UK Study, Gulf War Syndrome being passed onto children

Veterans with debilitating Gulf War Syndrome may have passed it on to children


Mirror UK
By Grace Macaskill
JAN 2019
The American study, funded by the US Veterans Affairs department, will step up the pressure. Dr Michael Falvo, lead researcher at the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center, said the findings were the “first direct biological evidence”

EXCLUSIVE: Stricken families say they want the Ministry of Defence to recognise the condition as the British Legion says it believes 30,000 may be suffering
Medical research has revealed troops who served in Iraq are more likely to have damage to DNA (Image: PA)
British forces veterans suffering Gulf War Syndrome may have given it to their children.

New medical research has revealed troops who served in Iraq are more likely to have damage to DNA that could be passed on during reproduction.

Experts in the US – where the illness is recognised – claim to have found the first proof of a biological link to debilitating symptoms suffered by servicemen involved in the 1990-1991 conflict.

Almost 75 per cent of the 53,000 UK soldiers there were given an anthrax vaccine. Many were also exposed to depleted uranium in some weapons.

Thousands reported a raft of disorders on their return home, including extreme fatigue, dizziness, strange rashes, nerve pain and memory loss – and the British Legion believes 30,000 may be suffering from the syndrome.

And more and more affected families are reporting that their children have developed terrifying symptoms of conditions that can be passed on genetically.

Now they are demanding the Ministry of Defence acts on the latest research and recognises Gulf War Syndrome.
read more here

Do not let Air Force Veteran Joseph Walker be buried alone

UPDATE

No one was expected to show up for Texas veteran's burial — now cemetery is planning for big turnout


'No veteran should be buried alone': No one expected to attend Texas veteran's funeral


KVUE ABC News
Author: Juan Rodriguez, Rebecca Flores
January 26, 2019

Air Force Veteran Joseph Walker will be laid to rest Monday, and no one is expected to attend.
KILLEEN, Texas — The Central Texas State Veteran’s Cemetery is calling for the public’s attendance at an unaccompanied Texas veteran’s funeral.

Air Force Veteran Joseph Walker will be laid to rest Monday, and no one is expected to attend. The cemetery said they do not know where his family is and they do not want him to be laid to rest alone, so they are asking the public to attend.

A member of Wind Therapy Freedom Riders is also encouraging the public to attend.

"Let's show our respects to an American Veteran," said Luis Rodriguez.

The group of bikers will meet at Rudy's BBQ off I-35 in Round Rock and take off to the burial site at 9 a.m.

"No veteran should be buried alone," Rodriguez explained on a Facebook post.

Mr. Walker served in the Air Force from September 1964 to September 1968.

His funeral will take place Monday at 10 a.m. at the Central Texas State Cemetery.
go here for updates

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Highlands County Sheriff's Department grieving for loss that did not have to happen

Highlands County deputy commits suicide


WFLA 8 News
January 26, 2019

HIGHLANDS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) - The Highlands County Sheriff's Office is mourning the loss of a deputy who committed suicide.
Sgt. Max Van D’Huynslager, 42, died Saturday morning from a self-inflicted injury, according to the sheriff's office.

Van D’Huynslage, who had served in the Highlands County Sheriff's Office since 2008, was not on duty when five women were shot and killed in a bank in Sebring, authorities said.


Before he joined the agency, Van D’Huynslager worked for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the Cape Coral Police Department and the Clewiston Police Department.

He leaves behind a wife and an 8-year-old daughter, according to the sheriff's office.
read more here


If the life needing to be saved this time is yours, please #BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife


I did this video back in 2008 for National Guards and Reservists, but was given an award from the IFOC because it was also helping police officers and firefighters.

Veteran Michael Wargo's parents breaking the silence that claimed his life

Paul Muschick: Carbon County soldier survived Afghanistan. Then he lost 'the war at home.'


McCall
Paul Muschick
January 25, 2019

“We can’t undo what happened but if we could stop some other soldier from doing what Michael did and some other family going through what we did, this is all worth it.” Mike Wargo


Army Spc. Michael Wargo returned from military service in Afghanistan with "terrific survivor guilt" and PTSD, according to his parents. He took his life eight years later, leaving them a long video message in which he described his pain and how he suffered in silence. (CONTRIBUTED/MIKE AND SARAH WARGO)
When Michael Wargo returned from war in the Middle East, he looked fine. But he wasn’t.

He had endured a lot. Like many soldiers, he suffered in silence. He didn’t want anyone to know how troubled he was.

Eight years later, he took his life.

The suicide rate among veterans is high. They make up 8.3 percent of the adult population and account for 14.3 percent of adult suicides, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. An average of 20 veterans die by suicide each day.

Wargo’s parents, Mike and Sarah Wargo of Mahoning Township, are on a mission of their own now: to reduce that number. They are using their son’s story to illustrate the need for more to be done to stop veterans from losing “the war at home.”

“We can’t undo what happened but if we could stop some other soldier from doing what Michael did and some other family going through what we did, this is all worth it,” Mike Wargo said.

The Wargos reached out to me after reading a column I wrote about the VA not spending the bulk of the money it allotted for suicide prevention advertising last year.

The VA said that happened because leadership was in flux and the suicide prevention program was being realigned. It said changes since have been made and nearly twice as much is planned for suicide prevention outreach this year.
read more here

Homeless veteran froze to death at the age of 39

'Another fallen soldier': Tulsa wonders why a homeless vet died the way he did


Tulsa World
By Michael Overall
January 26, 2019

Holder spent two nights last week in a downtown homeless shelter, Haltom said. But he didn’t return last Saturday as overnight temperatures sank into the teens. Firefighters recovered his body the next morning outside the Daily Grill restaurant at the Hyatt Regency, where the 39-year-old veteran apparently froze to death on the patio.
He hadn’t been around for a while, long enough that people couldn’t remember the last time they had seen him. Several weeks, at least. Maybe months.

Then Zaki Holder showed up again last week, coming off the streets to get warm inside the Day Center for the Homeless in the northwest corner of downtown Tulsa.

The staff wondered where he had been but didn’t pry. Chronic homelessness doesn’t hit people in one long burst. It comes and goes and comes again.

Nobody was surprised to see Holder again.

“He was a familiar face,” said Mack Haltom, the Day Center’s associate director. “He was quiet. Stayed to himself. Never caused a problem.”
It was the second memorial service of the day for the Patriot Guard, Smith said. The first had been for a veteran who “joined the 22-a-Day Club” by committing suicide, he said. And as far as the Patriot Guard members were concerned, Holder was “another fallen soldier,” too, Smith said.
read more here

WWII Veteran Harry Rockafeller stands tall

NJ police install 9-foot statue to honor veteran


Police One 
January 25, 2019

"Rocky we did it!"
“It was really an overwhelming sense of pride and honor,” Malone said of the dedication. “He’s no longer with us, but his memory and his legacy are going to be permanent reminders here in Wall Township of the sacrifice of all World War II veterans.”

WALL TOWNSHIP, NJ

New Jersey police officers launched a fundraiser last spring in an effort to honor a highly decorated World War II veteran. The result is now displayed outside their station. 

Patrolman Mike Malone and his fellow Wall Township police officers hoped to raise enough money for a memorial service, but the outpouring of support resulted in $130,000 - enough to create a bronze statue of WWII veteran Harry Rockafeller, who recently died at the age of 100, NJ.com reports. read more here

Fort Carson Staff Sgt. shot by police

Suspect shot by officers at Springs apartment complex


KKTV 11 News
By Lindsey Grewe
Jan 23, 2019

The suspect sustained nonlife-threatening injuries. He was identified Thursday morning as 33-year-old Thomas McGeorge.

Fort Carson confirmed Thursday that McGeorge is an active duty staff sergeant. He works as a Fire Support Specialist in the Army's field artillery team. He has served in the military for just under 11 years.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Officers opened fire in an apartment complex Wednesday night after an encounter with an armed suspect.

What led up to the police-involved shooting remains under investigation. Colorado Springs Police Department spokesperson Lt. Howard Black says officers were initially called to the Mountain Ridge Apartments on Verde Drive on reports of someone repeatedly firing a gun.

"These multiple shots were being called in by multiple people over a period of time," Black said.

Witnesses reported hearing at least half a dozen gunshots.

"We were smoking a cigarette, and we heard like seven gunshots, and we didn’t think nothing of it ... all of a sudden a bunch of cops showed up, and it was terrible," Gere Burrell told 11 News.
read more here