Wounded Times

VETERANS-WE GOT YOU COVERED

Monday, August 3, 2015

PTSD On Trial: Tim Rojas on Texas Death Row

Ex-Marine on death row says jurors should have been told more about PTSD
Dallas News
By BRANDI GRISSOM
Austin Bureau
Published: 02 August 2015
In Texas, 10 of the 261 death row inmates reported some military service, according to the Department of Criminal Justice.
To Tim Rojas, it feels like just yesterday that he and his Marine buddy John Thuesen were on the battlefield together, looking death in the face and trying to make sure they both got home to their families.

In reality, it’s been more than a decade since they left Iraq. Rojas works at a high-powered Houston investment firm. Thuesen, though, is in a 6-by-10 solitary cell, hoping that Texas’ highest criminal court will spare him from the death penalty.

“Hope is everything,” Rojas said.

Thuesen, 31, has been on death row since he was convicted in 2010 of fatally shooting his girlfriend Rachel Joiner and her brother Travis Joiner in their College Station home.

In July, Brazos County District Judge Travis Bryan III agreed with Thuesen’s appellate lawyers that the attorneys who defended Thuesen at trial didn’t adequately inform jurors about their client’s post-traumatic stress disorder after his return from combat. With more information about PTSD and its effects, Bryan said in court documents, the jurors who sentenced Thuesen to death may have decided differently. Bryan’s ruling is now under review by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which will ultimately decide whether Thuesen should get a new trial and a chance at a lesser sentence.
read more here

Wounded Marine Finishes Ride From San Diego to Iwo Jima on Hand Bike

Wounded Marine finishes ride across America
WUSA
Garrett W Haake
August 2, 2015
Toran Gaal finishes his cross country bike ride (Photo: WUSA9)
ARLINGTON, Va. (WUSA9) -- A wounded Marine is getting some much-needed rest after a 63-day journey across America.

Toran Gaal set out from San Diego on a hand bike back in June and crossed the finish line at the Iwo Jima memorial Sunday morning.

Four years ago Gaal lost both of his legs to an IED in Afghanistan. He awoke two months later and began a very long journey and finished it with cheers and hugs from those who fought beside him in Afghanistan and back home.

"There's no words that you could even put in place to explain how proud anyone could be of Gaal right now," Rian Martinez, who served alongside Gaal in Afghanistan.

Back in June, Gaal set out across the country on his handbike- covering just a few miles an hour. He rode in daylight and darkness, across the plains of Kansas, and through Rocky mountain passes, traveling 3,800 miles on his journey.
The goal was to raise $40,000 dollars over the journey for the Semper Fi fund, the same organization that helped him get through his painful recovery.
read more here

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Utah: 22 Veterans Once Forgotten Remembered

‘They have all of us’ — ‘forgotten’ veterans finally put to rest in Utah cemetery
The Salt Lake Tribune
By KRISTEN MOULTON
First Published Aug 01 2015

Bluffdale • Twenty veterans who died in Utah, forgotten by or estranged from family and friends, are forgotten no more.
(Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune) Jeff Childs of the Patriot Guard Riders reacts as he accepts the flag representing the Army veterans whose remains have never been claimed. Those remains were interred at the Utah state veterans cemetery in Bluffdale on Saturday. Flags were also presented for Navy and Air Force veterans. A total of 22 veterans whose remains are unclaimed.

On Saturday, their cremated remains and those of two other vets were interred at the Utah Veterans Cemetery and Memorial Park in Bluffdale after a military funeral replete with a wreath-laying, rifle volleys, taps and a separate flag-folding and presentation by honor guards of the three military branches.

Some say it's sad these veterans had no one to claim them, said funeral organizer Roger Graves of Cedar City. "I beg to differ. They have all of us. ... Everyone in this chapel today is their family."

"Veterans are all brothers and sisters," said Ogden resident Dennis Howland, president of the Northern Utah chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America. "They belong to us."
Who was interred
The “forgotten” veterans whose remains were buried were:
David Reubin Beveridge » Navy

Adrien Robert Boileau » Army, 1956-58

Paul S. Bronson Jr. » Army, 1942-45 and 1946-58

Danny Rae Brownlee » U.S. Navy, peacetime

Woodrow Isaac Burton » Army, 1968-70

David Earl Conley » Army

John Bredley Davenport » Navy, 1963-65

Louis William Dettling » Navy, 1944-45

Robert Leroy Ele, Army » 1972-74

Joseph William Hedgbeth » Army 1946-49

Gerhart Jansen » Merchant Marine, 1943

John Mills Jeffers » Navy, 1961-64 and 1964-74

John M. Jones » Army, 1968-71 and 1974-77

Keri K. Kuehn » Army, 1972-73

Melvin Moore » Navy, 1960-62

Robert Muir » Army, 1939-60

Larry Eugene Peterson » Air Force, 1957-60

James Saxton » Navy 1958-60

Arent T. Sjursen III » Air Force, 1961-62

James Weiss » Navy, 1959-60

read more about them here

Allen West Claim About Hero Being Charge is False

Navy responds to reports sailor will be charged for returning fire against Chattanooga gunman
AL.com Alabama
By Leada Gore
August 02, 2015

The U.S. Navy is denying reports that it will file charges against a naval officer who used a weapon to return fire against Chattanooga gunman Muhammad Abdulazeez during last month's deadly attack.
Eli Arnold, 5, places a small flag at a makeshift memorial on Friday, July 17, 2015 in front of the Armed Forces Career Center off of Lee Highway in Chattanooga, Tenn. Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez of Hixson, Tenn., attacked two military facilities on Thursday, in a shooting rampage that killed four Marines.
(Dan Henry/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP) THE DAILY CITIZEN OUT; NOOGA.COM OUT; CLEVELAND DAILY BANNER OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT (Dan Henry)
On Saturday, conservative commentator Allen B. West wrote a blog post saying sources had told him the Navy would bring charges against Lt. Cmdr Timothy White for illegally discharging a firearm on federal property. White and a Marine are believed to have fired their personal weapons during the July 16 attacks that killed four Marines and one sailor.

The Pentagon prohibits military personnel from carrying personal weapons while on duty.

"Flood the phone of (Secretary of the Navy) Ray Mabus and (Secretary of Defense Ash) Carter and ask them whose side they're on," West urged. "Demand the charges being brought against Lt.Cmdr White be immediately dropped. If those charges are not dropped, I will personally lead the charge to have Carter and Mabus removed from their positions."

West's story quickly spread online and commenters on the Navy's Facebook page expressed outrage over the idea of White facing charges.

The Navy quickly responded that the West allegations are false.

"Stories of Navy personnel being charged with an offense are not true. There is still a long way to go in reviewing the facts of this tragic incident, but at this time we can confirm no service member has been charged with an offense," the Navy said in a statement posted to social media.
read more here

Fort Meade-Based Black Hills Veterans Claims Found in Dumpster

From 1993 to 1999 we had to fight to have my husband's claim approved. It was bad back then when no reporters cared. By the time his claim was approved, we knew there were many, many more it was happening to. It ended up getting worse.


This report came out in 2008 when it was taking 2 to 3 years for an original claim and 4 years for an appeal.
Richardo (Rick) F. Randle, director of Alabama Department of Veteran Affairs, was the guest speaker at the April 19 meeting of the Lower Alabama Veterans Alliance Saturday at Ryan’s in Enterprise. Randle told the filled-to- capacity crowd of LAVA members and guests that staffing is a critical issue with the department, and until more resources become available, staffing will remain a problem. “We are doing the best we can with the resources available to us,” said Randle. “Since 2006, the number of claims has grown 15 percent. The amount of time it takes to make decisions on disability claims is two to three year. On an average, it takes four years to get an appeals decision.”
Later in 2008, part of the reason was clear, the GAO found no accountability and it was taking 2 years to train new VA claims processors.
VA officials said it takes at least two years to properly train disability claims employees, and they must complete 80 hours of training a year. New employees have three weeks of intense classroom training before they begin several months of on-the-job training at their home offices. But “because the agency has no policy outlining consequences for individual staff who do not complete their 80 hours of training per year, individual staff are not held accountable for meeting their annual training requirement,” the GAO found. “And, at present, VBA central office lacks the ability to track training completed by individual staff members.”
THE HOUSE OF Representatives and the U.S. Senate approved legislation in March that would increase the VA budget by $3.2 billion, which is more than what the Administration offered in February. According to the June issue of DAV magazine, this move could set the VA’s total budget at $93.6 billion for 2009, indicating a $5.22 billion increase from this year.
As of March, the VA reported 879,291 claims were in backlog from the same time last year.
And claims were being shredded with numbers being "fudged" as employees lost their jobs, but members of Congress with jurisdiction over the VA kept their jobs.
The first heads have begun to roll in this investigation. During the week of October 6, 2008, four employees at the New York VARO, including the Director, were placed on administrative leave. More accurately, they were removed from their positions awaiting the outcome of the investigation. Sources close to this investigation say that those removed, and others, were found to have been fudging the "timeliness" figures. And, there are allegations that documents, including paperwork essential to the claim process had been destroyed.
November 13, 2008 - A high-ranking U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs administrator from Guilderland has been placed on paid leave in the wake of an investigation into his office.

Joseph Collorafi was suspended last month as chief of veterans affairs at the New York City regional VA office, said Keith Thompson, acting director of the office.

The investigation revealed that someone in the regional office intentionally entered claim documents from veterans with incorrect dates — called "backdating" — into an internal database, VA spokeswoman Alison Aikele said Wednesday.

All that was followed by this piece of news in March of 2009
VA officials acknowledge further credibility problems based on a new report of a previously undisclosed 2007 incident in which workers at a Detroit regional office turned in 16,000 pieces of unprocessed mail and 717 documents turned up in New York in December during amnesty periods in which workers were promised no one would be penalized.


By June it was worse
Crisis at the VA as Benefits Claims Backlog Nearly Tops One Million
Monday, 01 June 2009
By Jason Leopold

During the past four months, the Department of Veterans Affairs backlog of unfinished disability claims from grew by more than 100,000, adding to an already mountainous backlog that is now close to topping one million.

The VA's claims backlog, which includes all benefits claims and all appeals at the Veterans Benefits Administration and the Board of Veterans Appeals at VA, was 803,000 on Jan. 5, 2009. The backlog hit 915,000 on May 4, 2009, a staggering 14 percent increase in four months.

The issue has become so dire that veterans now wait an average of six months to receive disability benefits and as long as four years for their appeals to be heard in cases where their benefits were denied.

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said during a hearing in March that the VA is “almost criminally behind in processing claims.”

So, as we've seen, everything old is new again to those not paying attention all along.
Files of 1,100 veterans thrown in dumpster at Hot Springs VA
Rapid City Journal
Seth Tupper Journal staff
July 31, 2015

More embarrassment struck the beleaguered Department of Veterans Affairs Friday when it was revealed that files containing personal information on 1,100 military veterans were mistakenly thrown out with the garbage.

Someone tossed a box containing the files into a dumpster on Friday, May 15, during an office move at the Hot Springs campus of the VA Black Hills Health Care System. A different employee noticed the box and files in the dumpster Sunday, May 17, and the items were retrieved and secured by Veterans Affairs police.

The Fort Meade-based Black Hills system, which serves 19,000 veterans residing in South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana, announced the dumpster blunder Friday in a news release. The release did not divulge the number of veterans affected; that information emerged during a Journal interview Friday with Teresa Forbes, public affairs officer for the VA Black Hills.

She said an investigation was conducted, but it did not determine which employee was at fault.

“The investigation found that during a regular office move, that the box of files were inadvertently thrown in the receptacle,” Forbes said. “It was just an unfortunate mistake during an office move.”
Read more here

Fake US Veteran Caused Change in Canada

Fake War Veteran At Citizenship Ceremonies Prompts New Safeguards From Ottawa 
CBC
Posted: 07/31/2015
The review was a direct result of the actions of Donald Lemmond, a 67-year-old who posed an American and Canadian war veteran with service medals from the Vietnam and Afghanistan war, among other medals.
The federal government has implemented new rules covering how veterans are invited to citizenship ceremonies, after a fake war veteran participated in Hamilton-area ceremonies last Remembrance Day.

Citizen and Immigration Canada (CIC) has implemented a number of safeguards, including having CIC officials liaise with regional veterans associations, verify their records and prevent dishonorably discharged veterans from participating. read more here

Bodies of 2 Schofield Soldiers Recovered from Sea

Bodies of 2 Schofield Soldiers Recovered from Sea
Honolulu Star Advertiser
Rob Skikina
July 27, 2015

The bodies of two Schofield Barracks soldiers were recovered Sunday, a day after they were swept into the ocean near Halona Blowhole during a large swell that hampered search efforts.

Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Kendall Ching confirmed that a body found ashore just before 7 p.m. was that of the second soldier.

The second body washed up on a rocky shoreline just east of Halona Blowhole shortly before 7 p.m., just as firefighters were wrapping up a daylong search for the man because of oncoming darkness.

Firefighters had been planning to resume the search at daylight.

Ching said a large swell brought in the man's body, which was spotted by a bystander.

A crowd gathered at the scenic lookout as police covered the body with a yellow sheet until authorities could carry it up a hill to the roadway.

The first soldier was found earlier in the day.

The men were washed out to sea from Halona Cove at about 4:45 p.m. Saturday during rough surf conditions.

Battalion Chief Geoff Chang of the Honolulu Fire Department said the men were on the rocks taking pictures at the cove when a wave swept the 21-year-old man into the ocean. The man's friend, 22, tried to help and was also swept into the ocean.

A third man was also swept into the water, but he was able to climb back out, Chang said.

Master Sgt. Mark St. Clair, a spokesman for the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, said the three men at the cove were soldiers. He said the identities of the two men washed away are being withheld pending notification of their families and units.
read more here

Jon Stewart Crusading for Sept. 11 First Responders.

Jon Stewart’s next act: Lobbyist? 
The host has promised to fight for a 9/11 bill in September.
Politico
By DARREN SAMUELSOHN


Jon Stewart is less than a week away from retiring from The Daily Show, but he’s already thinking about his next act: crusading this fall in Washington for the Sept. 11 first responders.

The Comedy Central star has promised to make a Capitol Hill trip as early as September to support a bill extending an expiring law that provides billions of dollars in medical health benefits for the police, firefighters and other emergency rescue workers who spent time at Ground Zero, as well as survivors of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Stewart committed to lobby the very lawmakers he’s made a career out of skewering during a backstage greenroom chat early in July with John Feal, an Army veteran and post-9/11 cleanup worker who is spearheading the advocacy push for the legislation. Feal told POLITICO that he expected Stewart to firm up the date for the visit after his final Daily Show appearance on Thursday.

“Everything he’s ever said, he’s kept his word,” Feal said.

The first-responders portion of the law, passed in 2010, is scheduled to expire this October but has enough money to run into next year. A separate fund for 9/11 survivors and first responders ends in October 2016. Supporters want to renew the whole law in perpetuity, like the health programs for coal miners who suffer from black lung disease, and the government workers and contractors who built the country's nuclear weapon arsenal. In early July on his program, Stewart called it “bullshit” that the 9/11 first responders even have to lobby to extend it, and demanded to know who on the Hill was blocking the effort.

In his 16-year TV career, Stewart has put his shoulder behind a number of policy and political issues. He has put the spotlight on bureaucratic blunders preventing military veterans from getting health care, and is widely credited with CNN’s decision more than a decade ago to cancel an earlier version of the ‘Crossfire' talk show. Sensing his power with young voters, senior White House aides also cultivated relationships with Stewart and his staff, and the host even met twice privately in the Oval Office with President Barack Obama.
read more here

Emergency Responders More Susceptible to PTSD

From 2008 to 2010 I took just about every training offered on Crisis Intervention available in Florida. I was certified as a Chaplain in 2008 by the IFOC. I focused on taking care of first responders since they were like most of the veterans I had experience with. Then it was more training including Disaster and Extreme Event Preparedness.

When I read this and the numbers, I remembered the training and what we knew back then. So why wasn't this training pushed for every group of first responders so they could find the support they needed in time to save their lives?
Fire Fighter Quarterly: Bringing PTSD Out of the Shadows
(The following article appeared in the Winter 2015 edition of the IAFF Fire Fighter Quarterly)
In just an 18-month period from 2008-09, Chicago Local 2 lost seven members to suicide. In 2010, four members of Phoenix, AZ Local 493 took their own lives.

Philadelphia, PA Local 22 has lost at least one member to suicide every year over the past five years. While each situation was different, Local 22 President Joe Schulle believes that work policies played a role.

A 20-year veteran firefighter at an urban fire department, John Smith had responded to every kind of imaginable — and unimaginable — emergency incident over the course of his career.

As a fire fighter, Smith sees people on their worst days, and the incidents he responds to on a daily basis can be truly horrific.

But it wasn’t until he saw a brother fall through the floor of a burning home to his death that the trauma stayed with him, and it seemed it would never get out of his mind. At the most unexpected times, he would relive the tragedy or hear his brother call for help. Every call became a stressful experience, even the most routine.

Smith thought he just needed time to recover, but the anxiety only escalated. Even stepping foot in the firehouse or completing routine tasks became daunting.

But he never told anyone about what he was experiencing. One day, a crew mate took him aside and said, “I think I know what you’re going through, and I think I can help.”

While this is a fictional account, it depicts an all-too-common behavioral health issue in the fire service.

Emergency responders are more susceptible to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) because of the nature of the profession, coupled with the personal demands and challenges fire fighters and paramedics face.

“IAFF members respond to any number of incredible events, many of them tragic,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “PTSD is a terrible condition that affects fire fighters and paramedics at double the rate of the general population, and we need a better way to deal with it.”
“People with PTSD are six times more likely to attempt suicide compared to demographically matched controls,” says Dr. Suzy Gulliver, who has participated in a number of studies on PTSD, and currently is founding director and chief of the Warriors Research Institute (WRI), which engages in multidisciplinary studies on the traumatic stress experienced by both soldiers and first responders.
Unfortunately, in many departments, even if the stigma is reduced, there are no programs in place for addressing behavioral health issues. Others may offer employee assistance programs (EAPs) but these are simply a referral line to community services.

“We need to do a better job of recognizing the signs and symptoms and providing the tools to help address it,” says Schaitberger. “Behavioral health services need to be embedded in all fire departments.”
read more here

Israel reported that 9 out of 10 firemen suffer from symptoms of psychological trauma, according to an expert who spoke before a session of the Knesset Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee

Canada lost 23 firefighters to suicide in the first part of 2014


" Beyond The Call " Full Length PTSD Training Documentary
London Professional Fire Fighters Association


UPDATE from Australia
Vets, paramedics among jobs with highest suicide rates
SUNDAY HERALD SUN
PETER MICKELBUROUGH FOI EDITOR
AUGUST 02, 2015

VETERINARIANS, paramedics, security guards, truck drivers and engineers share some of the state’s deadliest jobs a new report has found.
One of the starkest contrasts is among emergency workers, with Victoria’s paramedics having an average annual suicide rate of 35.6 per 100,000 workers - more than three-and-a-half times higher than police (10 per 100,000), and fire fighters and other emergency workers (10.5).

Only vets recorded a higher suicide rate at 38.2 per 100,000. And in findings that will surprise many, hairdressers (11.2), real estate agents (13.4) and engineers (21) were all found to have higher rates of suicide than police, fire fighters and other non-paramedic emergency workers.

Security guards (34.6) and truck drivers (23.3) are also professions that appear to need greater support.
read more here

Atlanta Restaurant Turned Away PTSD with Service Dog

Vet, service dog turned away from Blairsville restaurant 
My FOX Atlanta
By Deidra Dukes, FOX 5 reporter
Posted: Jul 28, 2015
Jason Champain says, "Just because you can't see the disability on the outside, we have a disability on the inside."
ATLANTA
Nate's a great comfort to Army veteran Jason Champlain on a day like Tuesday, when he was visiting Zoo Atlanta with his family.

Jason Champlain says, "The dog has helped me tremendously."

Champlain has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

Champlain says, "I deal with anxiety, depression, nightmares and so on I mean I could just keep going and going and going."

But his life took a turn for the better earlier this year when he received Nate, a service dog.

Champlain says, "He can already sense when I'm having an anxiety attack or depression he'll actually jump in my lap and help calm me."
read more here

VA Taking Care of Over 500,000 PTSD Veterans

While most folks seem only interested in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with PTSD, here are the real numbers. The VA says they are treating 119,000 OEF and OIF veterans for PTSD but they are treating 500,000 for it including the veterans no one wants to talk about.

The other factor to think about is with over 22 million veterans the VA has less than 4 million in their system. Now think about how many veterans do not go to the VA even though they really need to.
FactCheck: Bernie Sanders correct on veteran PTSD
Tucson Sentinel
Lori Robertson
FactCheck.org
Jul 28, 2015

"Right now, the VA is taking care of slightly over 500,000 people with posttraumatic stress disorder."VA Dr. Petzel

Sometimes politicians are right, but their campaigns can’t prove it. And we do.

That’s what happened when we decided to take a look at Sen. Bernie Sanders’ talking point that 500,000 veterans came back from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries. His campaign pointed us to a 2013 Senate hearing as its source — a hearing in which a Veterans Affairs official told Sanders that the number was less than half that.

But it wasn’t a case of Sanders exaggerating. We discovered more recent VA reports that put the number with PTSD at about 390,000, and that would only include veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan that sought care at VA facilities. Not all veterans use VA care. Other estimates suggest the total number could be around the 500,000 figure Sanders has been using for the past year.

Sanders, who’s running for the Democratic presidential nomination, repeated his claim at a July 2 town hall event in Rochester, Minnesota, (5:30 mark) when he said: “In Iraq and Afghanistan, and I will tell you that I voted against the war in Iraq … it was not just the 6,700 men and women who died in the war. 500,000 — 500,000 came home with PTSD and traumatic brain injury.”
Chairman Sanders, March 20, 2013: I mentioned in my opening remarks that as we end 10 years of war in Iraq and 11 in Afghanistan or so, the cost of war, I think, is a lot heavier and more tragic than many people realize. So, let me start off with a very simple question. I do not know if you have the answer in front of you. When we are talking about posttraumatic stress disorder and when we are talking about traumatic brain injury, how many human beings are we talking about who are suffering from these illnesses?

Dr. Petzel: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Right now, the VA is taking care of slightly over 500,000 people with posttraumatic stress disorder.


Sanders: Let us stop right there. 500,000 returning soldiers.

Petzel: Correct. Not just returning. This is our whole population, Mr. Chairman.

Sanders: This is not just Iraq and Afghanistan.

Petzel: I was about to get to Iraq.

Sanders: Okay.

Petzel: We have about 119,000 people from the present conflicts that carry the diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder.
read more here

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Army Reservist Due Promotion Killed in Her Home

Woman shot, killed remembered as loving mother, dedicated soldier
El Paso Times
By Aaron Martinez
POSTED: 08/01/2015

A 29-year-old woman shot to death Thursday night was known as a loving mother to an 8-year-old girl, a dedicated soldier and an all-around wonderful person, neighbors said at a vigil on Friday.

Blanca Rivera, 29, was shot and killed at about 9:15 p.m. at her home in the 11500 block of St. Thomas Way in East El Paso, police said. Her husband, Steven Quinteros-Rios, 25, was arrested in connection with slaying, police said.

Neighbors in the small gated community gathered Friday night in front of Rivera's home to pray and sing, including "Amazing Grace," in her memory. More than a dozen neighbors attended the vigil. They lit candles and left flowers and stuffed animals in front of her home.

"It is just heartbreaking," said Angel May, who lives across the street from Rivera. "I have known her for about a year. She was a soldier in the Army, she was funny, she was just a sweet girl all around. She loved her daughter so much. Blanca was such a great, loving mother."

Several neighbors said that Rivera served in the U.S. Army and was just two days from being promoted to staff sergeant.

Fort Bliss officials said Rivera was not stationed at the post, but was assigned to a local U.S. Army Reserve unit in the El Paso area.

"She was always friendly and would come talk to us and we would just laugh," said Maria Estela Cheung. She said she witnessed the start of the incident and called 911. "She was a wonderful person and an even better mother. It is just so sad that she lost her mother."
read more here

Fort Campbell Soldier Found Dead Outside Courthouse

Soldier at Fort Campbell dies from self-inflicted gunshot
The Leaf-Chronicle
Ray Howze
July 31, 2015

FORT CAMPBELL – A soldier at Fort Campbell died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Thursday.

According to the post’s Facebook page, the incident occurred at about 1:30 p.m. outside the U.S. District Courthouse at Fort Campbell. The post reads:

“At approximately 1:30 p.m. today, a Fort Campbell Soldier died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound outside of the U.S. District courthouse at Fort Campbell. The name of the Soldier is being withheld at this time. No other individuals were injured. The shooting is currently is under investigation.”

read more here

Suspects With PTSD Confronting Officers

News 4 Investigates: Suspects with PTSD confronting officers
(KMOV.com) -- A veteran allegedly suffering from a post-traumatic stress disorder erupted in the back seat of a Metro East police car.

The video of Brad Lavite was recently released by the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Alton Telegraph uploaded it on YouTube.

In the video, Lavite is heard threatening to murder an officer and busting out a car window.

News 4 Investigates’ Craig Cheatham has the details.

KMOV.com

Survivors of Suicide Loss Greater Fort Hood Break Silence

Local organization fights mental health stigma one story at a time
Killeen Daily Herald
By Lauren Dodd
Herald staff writer
August 1, 2015
“I couldn’t even say the word suicide, but my body screamed it. Five years ago, I would not be telling people about an event like this. I could not even say the word.”
MIKE BARTOSZEK
Suicide Prevention Fundraiser
SOS Greater Fort Hood founders, Janet Sutton and Clarena Tobon stand side by side during a fundraiser in support of suicide prevention held at Stillhouse Wine Room July 31st 2015

The word suicide, for good reason, typically evokes dark emotions of sadness, grief and loss. But Clarena Tobon-Guevara, co-founder of Survivors of Suicide Loss Greater Fort Hood, wants the community to know there is life after suicide.

“Suicide does not have to be dark and sad. The people that we lost — how do we carry on their lives, their names and their legacies — if we think about it as a dark place?” Tobon said.

“Of course it’s upsetting. I’ll never forget that day, seeing my mom, but the reality is that’s how she ended, that’s not how she lived.”

At the Stillhouse Wine Room in Killeen on Friday night, dozens of people gathered to share stories, raise suicide awareness and money for the upcoming Out of the Darkness Walk through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in October.
Survivors of Suicide co-founder Janet Sutton explained how important it is for her to share her own story as well.

“The day after (my son) Christopher died, I set up my first memorial fund and we raised $5,700. I swore that his death would not be in vain and that I would not keep it secret. I felt if I kept it secret someone else’s family would get hurt, someone else would die,” Sutton said.
read more here