TD Foundation Grants Once A Soldier to Help Kids

TD Foundation Grants Once A Soldier to Help Kids

Veteran Family Non Profit Started by Iraqi Veteran

Kids and military service don’t mix very well. When it hits rock bottom for the kids is when both TD Foundation and Once A Soldier step in to help. TD Foundation founder Tom Deierlein recently approve a grant to Once A Soldier with help those kids of Veteran suicide in mind. We thank him.

A waiting list will never top the list of favorites. Ours was a constant source of aggravation, but no longer. Thanks to the TD Foundation, who granted us for four families, our waiting list in gone! We are overjoyed to have them as our partner now and will hope to keep the good coming over the years.

Our donors also pulled their weight for these last few weeks. Your gifts make the difference for two other families this August. Thank you!

Tom Deierlein in Iraq

Tom Deierlein in Iraq

Founder - TD Foundation

How TD Foundation Started in Wartime Iraq

From their About Us webpage: Our story begins with a return from a typical business trip in early October 2005. Tom Deierlein, a West Point graduate and former Airborne Ranger was activated in late 2005 and recalled to active duty military service after 12 years in the inactive reserves. There was a Western Union Telegram waiting on his door. He had thirty days to report.

After 5 months of training and waiting at Ft Jackson and Ft Bragg, Tom deployed to Baghdad in April of 2006. He was assigned as the Civil Affairs Officer for Sadr City. While deployed as a Civil Affairs Officer focused on reconstruction and economic development, he reviewed the terrible conditions in Sadr City, a slum of 2.3 million people in East Baghdad, Iraq. There he worked with his friends, family and digital media professionals back in US to start getting humanitarian aid to children in Baghdad. Everything from clothes, shoes, school supplies, toys and vitamins. This was the unofficial start of TD Foundation.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Speaking On A National Crisis With Representative Rutherford

Speaking On A National Crisis With Representative Rutherford

 “Positive Progress”
The Latest on Stopping Veteran Suicide

Speakers Forum on October 25, 2020

Every two days, more United States veterans die by suicide than were killed in action during all of last year. But despite this disturbing statistic, and after almost nineteen years of post-9/11 conflicts, lawmakers and Defense Department officials still are no closer to ending the suicide crisis affecting veterans and their families throughout the country. The issue is complex – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can manifest itself in a multitude of ways, and there isn’t any guarantee for mental health care access to the veterans who need it most.

John Rutherford

John Rutherford

Congressman (R) from District 4 - FL

St. Augustine Event Presented by Once A Soldier

“Positive Progress” Speakers Forum featuring Rep. John Rutherford
When: October 25, 2020 from 6pm to 7:30 pm
Where: Gourmet Hut (17 Cuna Street, St. Augustine, FL)
Admission: Free — Seating is Limited to 45 Attendees
Complimentary hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine

Reserve Your Seat Here 


ABOUT THE EVENT

Once A Soldier’s team is dedicated to helping families in the United States who have been affected by a veteran’s suicide. It is our main mission to provide financial aid to families burdened by funeral and other expenses when a veteran they love takes their own life. In order to take our mission to the next level, and help even more families in need, we have been working with the Congressional Representative from Florida’s Fourth District, Rep. John Rutherford. Representative Rutherford and his team have listened to the needs of our organization and understand the scope of the problem our nation is facing when it comes to veteran suicide.

In order to raise awareness of this important issue right here in the Northeast Florida community, Representative Rutherford will be speaking at the Gourmet Hut (17 Cuna Street, St. Augustine, FL) on October 25th from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Along with other speakers from a veteran-owned PTSD clinic, and a father of a fallen soldier, Rep. Rutherford will be speaking about what it takes to combat the veteran and soldier suicide crisis. Get the details here.

Hosted outdoors in historic downtown St. Augustine, “Positive Progress – The Latest on Stopping Veteran Suicide” promises to set the standard on how we can tackle this issue from all sides and start saving lives. Rep. Rutherford will discuss how this will take a combined effort from the both legislative branch and the private sector. He will also share stories from the front lines to bring this issue completely into focus.

After the speakers have wrapped up, Once A Soldier will host a question and answer session. This is a great opportunity to speak one-on-one with the Founder and discuss any of our current and future initiatives. In addition, there will be complimentary beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres available throughout at the event. This is the only event of it’s kind and the outdoor seating is limited.

To abide by social distancing guidelines, all seating will be spaced appropriately, and masks are mandatory.

If you are interested in attending this free event, RSVP here!

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Hiring a Bio Hazard Clean-Up Company

Hiring a Bio Hazard Clean-Up Company

 Advice on How to Hire a Provider

After a Veteran suicide, the survivors must not only deal with the shock of a sudden death, but with the sad fact that the remains must go ASAP. That’s the job of the Coroner’s office who is called to the scene by the police or EMTs. They’re usually the first call. The next call should be to a bio-hazard clean-up and then your homeowners insurance agent. Here’s a list of other calls to make.

We spoke with Ginger Akemon of Bio-One Duval County, a franchise bio hazard company located in Jacksonville, Florida.

Ginger spoke with Once A Soldier about what Veteran families of suicide need to know about calling a bio-hazard company. FYI: Once A Soldier’s time of need service can also take this task on for you, as well as call funeral homes to negotiate the price so you can focus on other needs.

urn for ashes

How to Hire from a Compassionate Industry Expert

OAS: What should family or friends do when they discover the body?

Ginger: Try not to touch anything. You never know what bio-hazards the blood may contain. You need to keep yourself safe. Let the experts, the coroner for example, do their jobs the best they can by avoiding the area.

Don’t blow any fans or A/C directly in the area.

Don’t touch the blood.

Don’t clean up yourself. No one needs that trauma added on.

OAS: What questions should they ask when they call around to find help?

Ginger: First off, call at least two companies or more if you don’t find what you’re looking for in terms of price and compassion. As far as price goes, let them know that your loved one was a Veteran. If appropriate, also let them know that they had PTSD. Most in our industry will be able to offer an immediate discount. If they don’t, ask for it anyway.

On the other hand, you want the better person, not the better price, to help at a time like this. Every one is different, so you need to find your own comfort level with each.

Make sure they licensed and insured.

Make sure they don’t leave anything behind.

If you find something later, even a speck of something outside, call them if you want it gone. Get the peace of mind you deserve.

OAS: Will homeowners or renters insurance cover the cost?

Ginger: Homeowners insurance will pay but there’s probably a deductible. Some bio hazard companies will also deal with the insurance companies for you. Ask if they will. If not, you’ll have to call your insurance agent and let them know that you have a claim.

Rental insurance doesn’t cover it. It’s sad but that’s why we try to be so compassionate. We’re in this business to make a living, not make a killing.

OAS: Do they give Veterans a discount?

Ginger: We do. My dad as in the Navy for 27 years. Most will but always ask for a discount or for them to waive the deductible, A reasonable deductible of $1,000 may be waiver. A $5,000 deductible is probably not going to get waived.

OAS: What gets cleaned and what gets removed?

Ginger: Everything affected. Walls, carpet, furniture, flooring, lamps, decorations. Bio hazard companies will clean everything on site. Hard items like furniture can be cleaned and saved.

Soft items like clothing, wood and cushions probably have to go depending on how long they’ve been sitting there with the bio hazard. Soft materials will soak up odors quickly. Critters, flies and insects start to arrive as the body decomposes. Odors can affect the whole house, that’s why you want to contain the air, if possible, and not blow it around.

Flooring, carpet or tile may also need to be removed. Try to remove only what you have to and save portions of the flooring if that makes sense. It’s okay to save money!

Gingers Last Word of Advice: The sooner you call a provider. Same day is best. Emotionally, remember that you’re not to blame because this happened. This is more important later on, but reactions now stay with you.

Thanks Ginger at BioOne in Jacksonville.

Bio-Hazard Terms Defined

Biohazard –  any type of biological waste or biological agent such as a virus or a condition that constitutes a threat to humans. Biohazards must be eliminated by professionals such as Bio-One Duval County otherwise they can cause serious health effects and continuous exposure, if not properly removed and cleared of any biohazards, can be lead to long term adverse health effects of unknown occupants

Biohazardous agent – a biological agent or condition (as an infectious organism or insecure laboratory procedures) that constitutes a hazard to humans or the environment

Biohazard remediation – cleanup and disinfection of any biohazard situation, including hoarding, commercial or industrial accidents, chemical spills, or contamination scenarios

Biological waste – is any material that contains or has been contaminated by a biohazardous agent

Suicide scene clean up – cleanup of blood, other bodily fluids such as urine, and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). It is also referred to as biohazard remediation, because crime scenes are only a portion of the situations in which biohazard cleaning is needed

Clean-up operation – when hazardous substances are removed, confined, stabilized, or in any other manner; with the vital goal of making the scene safer for people or the environment

Decontamination – the removal of hazardous substances to avoid or minimize potential dangerous health effects

Facility – any building or structure

Hazardous materials response (HAZMAT) – organized group of trained professionals, who handle and control actual or potential leakages or spills of hazardous substances; quite often requiring being very close to the substance

Infectious agent – something that invades another living thing (like a virus to a human). When an infectious agent “hitches a ride”, the “driver” officially become an infected host. There are four main classes of infectious agents: bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites

Trauma – a deeply disturbing or distressing experience or physical injury

 

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

TD Foundation Aids Veteran Families in Need

TD Foundation Aids Veteran Families in Need

Two Missions Align Under the Banner of Veteran Families

Bob Ross called them “happy accidents.” It’s when a mistake turns into something good. This is exactly how I stumbled upon TD Foundation. Internet surfing for sponsors for our upcoming event, I found myself on their contact us page and called. In short, it was a “bingo” right away. The TD in TD Foundation answered the call, literally, and within minutes of mission-swapping, Tom Deierlein agreed to help the families on our waiting list.

 

TD Foundation Starts with Clothing for Kids

In early October 2005, digital media exec Tom Deierlein, a West Point graduate and former Army Airborne Ranger, returned from a typical business trip to find a Western Union telegram waiting on his door. After 12 years in the inactive reserves, the telegram informed him, he was being recalled to active duty military service. He had 30 days to report. This is where his story and the founding of TD Foundation really takes off. After 5 months of training and waiting at Ft Jackson and Ft Bragg Tom deployed to Baghdad. In an email back home, he was asked what he needed. Here was his answer as reported and written by Jack Myers:

I really don’t need anything personally right now. But, if you want to, please think of inner-city children and what they need. Specifically, I need things in bulk. Ones and twos are nice and still appreciated, of course, but I need bunches of stuff if I am going to set up a distribution and do anything meaningful.

A month later he wrote:

“I don’t know if we should have come here in the first place, I really don’t, but I do know we are here and more importantly, I know that I am here, so I am going to make a difference even if just a little bit at a time each and every day”.

In no time, they were receiving boxes by the ton and a new Humanitarian Aid effort was born – The Arch Angels of Alpha Company 414th Civil Affairs. At makeshift tables in their perimeter, they’d hand out children’s clothing, children’s vitamins, and more. Soccer balls, frisbees, boxes of crayons tennis balls – anything you can toss out of a moving vehicle, also went to the children of war. Without any fanfare or red tape, the Arch Angels gave out supplies where and when they saw the need.

And the Iraqi families were in great need and showed great thanks:

“There were hundreds of Iraqis there with their families. We pulled up and opened the trailer, and you would have thought we were giving out gold bars. Hundreds of them gathered around us to get whatever we had to offer. And they were grateful. I saw little kids holding stuffed animals bigger than they were. I saw families helping their children try on the new clothing and shoes.

A Sniper’s Bullet Hits the Accelerator for the TD Foundation

In September of 2006, during Operation Together Forward II, the attempt to re-secure Baghdad, Tom was shot and critically wounded by a sniper while he was out protecting local contractors who were attacked. Tom spent the next 8 months in the hospital at Walter Reed and Spinal Cord Polytrauma Unit at the Tampa VA; first recuperating and then learning to walk again.

Behind the scenes, the operation was gathering more and more steam. In 2008, they formalized into a 501(c)(3) and their military connections kept the donations flowing to Iraqi children. With the war expanding into Afghanistan, so did the TD Foundation. They expanded efforts to include They also added quite a few organizations to a growing network including Gift of Life Amman, Iraqi Children’s Project, Shriners Hospitals and Our Chance International.

A new front opened up that year as well. They conducted their first Heart Mission for 5 children organized by CINI and run by volunteer medical staff from Riley’s Children hospital. They flew into Amman Jordan and conducted surgeries around the clock for over a week straight.

Their story is still being written and now we are very proud to be a piece of it. Our thanks to the universe and a random mouse click that brought us together, and to Tom Deierlein for being one of our brightest Silver Linings.

Trump’s Record on Veterans 2017-2019

Trump’s Record on Veterans 2017-2019

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

When you look at this well-documented history of the way Trump has used the military, Active Duty soldiers and Veterans for his own gain, you should either stop supporting him or stop saying you care about Veterans. Trump has weakened our military by going after the money and morale that our servicemembers and Veterans deserve. In the three years since he came into office, Trump’s record speaks for itself.

On the right is a cartoon from Phil Hands, Editorial Cartoonist and letters editor for the Wisconsin State Journal. Like many other military line items, funds for the Madison Traux base’s new shooting range were diverted. Theirs went to build the wall – of which only 3 miles have been built to date. So where is all that money going? One answer could be Trump’s now shutdown charity that took money from a Veteran’s fundraiser. Disturbingly disgraceful.

Trump Active Duty and Veterans Record

Credit to Reddit user /u/victorvitor1 for his research on the following post:

  • Children of deployed US troops will no longer get automatic American citizenship if born overseas during deployment. This includes US troops posted abroad for years at a time (August 28, 2019)

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/08/28/children-us-troops-born-overseas-will-no-longer-get-automatic-american-citizenship.html

  • On August 2, 2019, Trump requisitioned military retirement funds towards border wall

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/a-green-light-on-the-border-wall-as-trumps-supreme-court-victories-mount

  • On July 31, 2019, Trump ordered the Navy rescind medals to prosecutors who were prosecuting war criminals

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/defense-national-security/trump-orders-navy-to-rescind-medals-given-to-prosecutors-who-failed-to-convict-seal-eddie-gallagher

  • In July 2019, Trump denied a United States Marine of 6 years entry into the United States for his scheduled citizenship interview (Reported July 17, 2019)

https://fox5sandiego.com/2019/07/17/marine-veteran-not-allowed-into-us-for-citizenship-interview/

  • Trump made the U.S. Navy Blue Angels violate ethics rules by having them fly at his July 4th political campaign (July 4, 2019)

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/07/trump-july-fourth-rally-hatch-act-violation.html

  • Trump demanded US military chiefs stand next to him at 4th of July parade (reported July 2, 2019)

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-demands-us-military-chiefs-072002784.html

  • In June, 2019, Trump sent troops to the border to paint the fence for a better “aesthetic appearance” (June 7, 2019)

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2019/06/06/some-troops-to-spend-the-next-month-painting-border-fence-with-mexico/

  • Trump used his D-Day interview at a cemetery commemorating fallen US soldiers to attack a Vietnam veteran (June 6, 2019)

https://qz.com/1637160/trump-slams-veteran-mueller-in-d-day-interview-at-normandy-cemetery/

  • Trump started his D-Day commemoration speech by attacking a private citizen (Bette Midler, of all people) (reported on June 4th, 2019)

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/trump-trashes-bette-midler-wwii-dday-memorial-event-844515/

  • Trump made his 2nd wife, Marla Maples, sign a prenup that would have cut off all child support if Tiffany joined the military (reported on June 4th, 2019)

https://www.newsweek.com/tiffany-trump-child-support-payments-would-have-been-stopped-donald-if-she-joined-military-prenup-1442203

  • On May 27, 2019, Trump turned away US military from his Memorial Day speech because they were from the destroyer USS John S. McCain

  • Trump ordered the USS John McCain out of sight during his visit to Japan (May 15, 2019). The ship’s name was subsequently covered. (May 27, 2019)

  • Trump pardoned war criminals (May, 2019)

  • Trump purged 200,000 veterans healthcare applications (due to known administrative errors within VA’s enrollment process and enrollment system) (reported on May 13, 2019)

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/trump-administration-breaks-campaign-promise-purges-200-000-va-healthcare-applications

  • Trump deported a spouse of fallen Army soldier killed in Afghanistan, leaving their daughter parentless (April 16, 2019)

  • On March 20, 2019, Trump complained that a deceased war hero didn’t thank him for his funeral

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/20/politics/john-mccain-thank-you-funeral-donald-trump/index.html

  • He diverted military housing funds to pay for border wall (Feb 15, 2019). A judge subsequently denied this. In July 2019, SCOTUS ruled that Trump could in fact divert military housing funds to pay for his wall.

  • He refused to sign his party’s funding bill, which shut down the government, and forced a branch of the military to go without pay. This branch of military was forced to work without pay, otherwise they would be AWOL. However, his appointees got a $10,000 pay raise (Dec 22, 2018 – Jan 25, 2019)

  • He didn’t pay the Coast Guard, forcing service members to rely on food pantries (Jan 23, 2019)

  • He banned service members from serving based on gender identity (Jan 22, 2019)

  • He denied female troops access to birth control to limit sexual activity (on-going. Published Jan 18, 2019)

  • He tried to deport a marine vet who is a U.S.-born citizen (Jan 16, 2019)

  • When a man was caught swindling veterans pensions for high-interest “cash advances,” Trump’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined him $1. As a reminder, the Trump administration’s goal was to dismantle the CFPB, installing Mick Mulvaney as the director, who publicly stated the bureau should be disbanded. (Jan 26, 2019)

  • He called a retired general a ‘dog’ with a ‘big, dumb mouth’ (Jan 1, 2019)

  • He increased privatization of the VA, leading to longer waits and higher taxpayer cost (2018)

  • He finally visited troops 2 years after taking office, but only after 154 vacation days at his properties (Dec 26, 2018)

  • He revealed a covert Seal Team 5 deployment, including names and faces, on Twitter during his visit to Iraq (Dec 26, 2018)

  • Trump lied to deployed troops that he gave them a 10% raise. He didn’t give them a 10% raise (Dec 26, 2018). He initially tried to give the military a raise that was lower than the standard living adjustment. This was before Congress told him that idea wasn’t going to work. Then after giving them the raise that Congress made him, he lied about it pretending that it was larger than Obama’s. It wasn’t.

  • He fired service members living with HIV just before the 2018 holidays (Dec 19, 2018-present)

  • He tried to slash disability and unemployment benefits for Veterans to $0, and eliminate the unemployability extrascheduler rating (Dec 17, 2018)

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/12/17/vet-group-demands-white-house-va-reject-benefits-cuts-disabled-unemployed-vets.html

  • He got three Mar-a-Lago guests to run the VA (unknown start – present, made well-known in 2018)

  • He called troops on Thanksgiving and told them he’s most thankful for himself (Thanksgiving, 2018)

  • He urged Florida to not count deployed military votes (Nov 12, 2018)

  • He canceled an Arlington Cemetery visit on Veterans Day due to light rain (Nov 12, 2018)

  • While in Europe commemorating the end of WWI, he didn’t attend the ceremony at a US cemetery due to the rain – but other world leaders went anyway (Nov 10, 2018)

  • He used troops as a political prop by sending them on a phantom mission to the border and maked them miss Thanksgiving with their families (Oct-Dec, 2018)

  • He stopped using troops as a political prop immediately after the election. However, the troops remained in muddy camps on the border (Nov 7, 2018)

  • Trump changed the GI Bill through his Forever GI Act, causing the VA to miss veteran benefits, including housing allowances. This caused many veterans to run out of food and rent. “You can count on us to serve, but we can’t count on the VA to make a deadline,” one veteran said. (reported October 7, 2018)

  • Trump doubled the rejection rate for veterans requesting family deportation protections (July 5, 2018)

  • Trump deported active-duty spouses (11,800 military families face this problem as of April 2018)

  • He forgot a fallen soldier’s name (below) during a call to his pregnant widow, then attacked her the next day (Oct 23-24, 2017)

  • He sent commandos into an ambush due to a lack of intel, and sends contractors to pick them up, resulting in a commando being left behind, tortured, and executed. (Trump approved the mission because Bannon told him Obama didn’t have the guts to do it) (Oct 4, 2017)

  • He blocked a veteran group on Twitter (June 2017)

  • He ordered the discharge of active-duty immigrant troops with good records (2017-present)

  • He deported veterans (2017-present)

  • He said he knows more about ISIS than American generals (Oct 2016)

  • He said vets get PTSD because they aren’t strong (Oct 3, 2016) (note: yes, he said it’s ‘because they aren’t strong.’ He didn’t say it’s ‘because they’re weak.’ This distinction is important because of Snopes)

  • Trump accepted a Purple Heart from a fan at one of his rallies and said: “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.” (Aug 2, 2016)

  • Trump attacks Gold Star families – Myeshia Johnson–gold star widow, Khan family–gold star parents, etc. (2016-present)

  • Trump sent funds raised from a January 2016 veterans benefit to the Donald J Trump Foundation instead of veterans charities (the foundation has since been ordered shut because of fraud) (Jan, 2016)

  • Trump said “I felt that I was in the military in the true sense because I dealt with those people” because he went to a military-style academy and that he has “more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military”. (2015 biography)

  • Trump said he doesn’t consider POWs heroes because they were caught. He said he prefers people who were not caught (July 18, 2015)

  • Trump said having unprotected sex was his own personal Vietnam (1998)

  • For a decade, Trump sought to kick veterans off of Fifth Avenue because he found them unsightly nuisances outside of Trump Tower. “While disabled veterans should be given every opportunity to earn a living, is it fair to do so to the detriment of the city as a whole or its tax paying citizens and businesses?” – 1991

  • Trump dodged the draft 5 times by having a doctor diagnose him with bone spurs.

  • No Trump in America has ever served in the military; this spans 5 generations, and every branch of the family tree. In fact, the reason his grandfather immigrated to America was to avoid military service

Military Deaths and PTSD

A traumtic incident can occur out of nowhere. Driving to the store for a coffee can end up with a tragic accident. PTSD can come with it. Family members can and do find their dead veterans. Imagine walking into the bathroom and seeing that. Of course it’s hard for anyone to forget and move on. We know that every member of our families deal with PTSD-related issues every minute of every day.

From the beginning of modern day warfare, PTSD packed along in every American war. Using different names such as “shell shock”, PTSD was only recognized as a distinct disorder in the 1980’s. In earlier wars such as World War II, 37% of soldiers who saw direct combat were discharged for psychiatric reasons and 24% of soldiers who saw direct combat in the Korean War were discharged for psychiatric reasons. That’s 1 out of 4 men, and for us, that’s 25% of their families, too. Veteran families of soldier suicide pay that same price.

Captain America Yet Another Veteran Suicide

Captain America Yet Another Veteran Suicide

Trickle Down PTSD – Former Green Beret Kills Himself In Front of Wife

Master Sgt. Andrew Christian Marckesano leaves behind a now severely traumatized wife and three small children with his Veteran suicide on July 6, 2020. After having dinner with his Battallion chief, he returned home and killed himself in front of his wife, according to numerous news sources. How he did it is still unknown. Why is not. PTSD is what’s killing our Veterans, and even though the government is stepping up efforts to help, they’re not making a difference.

Veteran families of soldier suicide tells us that, after a suicide, that the actual suicide becomes the least of their problems. Money and the business of death become their enemy. There is also a misconception that the VA takes cares of Veterans after they die. That’s not true. Here’s a bog post that debunks the falsehoods of Veteran suicide.

Marchensano’s PTSD Started in 2009

Master Sgt. Andrew Christian Marckesano served six full tours in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne and the Ranger regiment and a half dozen more combat tours overseas. He rose to become a decorated Green Beret and a Silver Star recipient. He had just moved to Washington, D.C., to start a coveted job at the Pentagon. Two days after the Fourth of July on Monday night, after having dinner with his former battalion leader, Marckesano returned home from dinner in Old Town, Alexandria, and died by suicide in front of his wife. He had three small children and was still on active duty.

Marckesano’s tours included one in Afghanistan’s Arghandab Valley in 2009. This is where the seeds of his PTSD were sown. He was part of the 2-508, a battalion that had one of the highest casualty rates of any unit during the war. “That deployment was like being in the ring with Mike Tyson for a year,” according to the battalion’s former Command Sgt Major Bert Puckett.

Known as “the Valley”, that combat action continues to take Veterans away from us and plunge their families into emotional and financial turmoil. Marckesano’s suicide was the 30th from this battalion.

Military Deaths and PTSD

A traumtic incident can occur out of nowhere. Driving to the store for a coffee can end up with a tragic accident. PTSD can come with it. Family members can and do find their dead veterans. Imagine walking into the bathroom and seeing that. Of course it’s hard for anyone to forget and move on. We know that every member of our families deal with PTSD-related issues every minute of every day.

From the beginning of modern day warfare, PTSD packed along in every American war. Using different names such as “shell shock”, PTSD was only recognized as a distinct disorder in the 1980’s. In earlier wars such as World War II, 37% of soldiers who saw direct combat were discharged for psychiatric reasons and 24% of soldiers who saw direct combat in the Korean War were discharged for psychiatric reasons. That’s 1 out of 4 men, and for us, that’s 25% of their families, too. Veteran families of soldier suicide pay that same price.

Meet Our Families

 

 

 

They come from all over the USA and we invite you to meet these brave families.