Board of Directors
David Barbush - Executive Director
Founder and President
Stefanie Starke - President-elect
Mr. Johns is new to the Board as of January, 2019. His son Jared was taken by PTSD on 9/11/2018. Mr. Johns provides our Board with a unique perspective on the mission and on what we can do to truly help the families.
Currently serving in the Navy at the Jacksonville Mayport base, Josh will be retiring soon for a position in Jacksonville. He’s 20 years in and he’s lost friends to soldier suicide.
Currently serving in the Navy as a Commander, Mr. Bessman provides his guidance and direction from an “insider.”
Mother of Cedrick Taylor, lost to PTSD. Helen is our first giftee and her courage and eloquence inspire us all.
Ms. Lechner fits our board perfectly with her digital marketing professional experience. Her strategic guidance and passion for the cause offers us a plethora of benefits./p>
50 + Years Old
23-49 Years Old
New Recruits - 1st Year
Our Two-Phase Approach to the Mission
Phase One: As we are newly minted in late 2017, becoming financially stable while we raise awareness is our mandate.
Phase Two: With the first dollars available, we will gift the first of our veteran suicide.
Our Mission is Simple
Ease or erase the financial burden of the funeral costs after a soldier suicide.
The son of a Navy veteran, Dave now lives in Jacksonville, Florida – home to three Navy installations. My Dad’s giving heart beats in me and his willingness to take care of others is organic to this cause. Combining that with the sacrifice that veteran families make has inspired Once a Soldier to make a big difference.
From the Founder:
When I decided to start Once a Soldier, my long term plan was to create a nonprofit the likes of which hadn’t been seen before. We succeeded in two ways.
First, the cause is unique. There is a plethora of soldier suicide nonprofits, but after looking at the reports, we saw that as a misnomer. Soldier suicide is really veteran suicide as 13 of the 20 suicides a day are done by veterans.
Secondly, we wanted to be as digital as possible. With finances being our gift to the families to create a silver lining, we wanted to create an easy to scale way of raising funds for the families. We need no employees (at this time) and so our costs are very small.
After getting to know the families left behind, I’m satisfied that both ways are succeeding and that I will never run out of passion for the cause. Please give what you can and feel good about it.
I would like to thank you for all that you do. I am truly thankful for your dedication to knowing the problem and trying to make others aware of the tragedy soldiers & their families endure. It has really, really been a hard road. I wish every day that Cedrick was here and I was the one God called. So sad.Helen Taylor
This is a great resource for families that are faced with the hardships that come with veteran soldier suicide.Kevin Johns