Showing posts with label law enforcement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label law enforcement. Show all posts

Friday, December 23, 2022

PTSD in Minnesota's Deputy worthy of death benefit

Appeals court rules spouses of officers who die by suicide are entitled to death benefit

Eric Chaloux
Updated: December 21, 2022
“They see things regularly that if we saw one of those things in our life time, we’d be affected by it for the rest of our lives,” Cindy Lannon said.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals found that a surviving spouse of a public safety officer who dies by suicide is “entitled to the death benefit for survivors of officers ‘killed in the line of duty’ if the officers death resulted from post-traumatic stress disorder from the job”, according to the court’s opinion.

For more than 30 years, Jerry Lannon protected and served the community, including since 1999, as a Deputy Sheriff in Washington County.

“Jerry always loved his job, he loved going to work, in the last few months of his life, it completely turned, and he was dreading going to work,” said Cindy Lannon, Deputy Lannon’s wife.

58-year-old Deputy Lannon died by suicide in November 2018.
read more here

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Orlando Nam Knights 25th Anniversary Bikeweek Party

Today out at the Orlando Nam Knights Eternal Chapter, the bike week party was extra special. It is the 25th year! This is a welcome message from the Orlando Nam Knights to the newer generations of veterans and police officers, that they are welcome and wanted here!

President of the Nam Knights brought a tribute to the Orlando Nam Knights for the 25th year of dedication to Florida. As mentioned, all the Florida chapters started out with this one, the first in Florida. Congratulations for work well done and lives well lived.

357 is one of the Orlando Nam Knights favorite bands and when you listen to this one, you'll understand why. Really great they came out to help celebrate the 25th year!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

31 law enforcement officers have taken their own lives since 1-1-19

Local deputy's death sparks conversation about police suicides

KWTX 10 News
By Rissa Shaw
Feb 12, 2019
So far in 2019, at least 31 law enforcement officers have taken their own lives, including a young McLennan County jail deputy who graduated from the police academy less than a year ago.
WACO, Texas (KWTX) The recent death of a McLennan County deputy is creating awareness about police suicide.

"We deal with quite a few suicides in the county, but it's very different when one of your own people takes their own life," said Sheriff Parnell McNamara. "It's always a very sad thing when you lose one of your own."

For the third year in a row, police suicides have outnumbered line of duty deaths, according Blue H.E.L.P., a non-profit run by active and retired officers advocating for greater mental health resources for law enforcement.

"The heart of an officer is to do what is right by everyone and to do the best job that we can, and sometimes, we need help," said Lydia Alvarado, Chief of Police for the City of Bellmead.

Alvarado, who's been teaching mental health peace officer certification courses since 2003 and critical incident training (CIT) since 2005, is considered a local expert in mental health as it relates to law enforcement.
read more here

Saturday, January 26, 2019

It's running silent and angry and deep

When service turns into suffering

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 26, 2019

Why do people decide that they are willing to take jobs that could cost them their lives? Did they just wake up one morning and think, "I'd die for that chance?"

Whenever it happened, whenever they went to begin training for the jobs dedicated to saving lives, or defending a nation, that is exactly what they decided was worth it.

Now, all of us can understand when what they try to save us from, changes everything for us. So why can't we understand what all the times they do it, does to them?

How oblivious are we? How self-centered are we when we ignore what those jobs are doing to them? We get PTSD from one traumatic event. They get PTSD from far too many of them. Then they have this twisted thought that they were supposed to be better, stronger, and beyond reach of the residual demon of destruction.

More to the point is, how oblivious are the leaders of the men and women suffering, that they do not see their jobs cause more deaths than doing the job itself?

More in the military die as a result of suicide than die doing their jobs.

More die in the National Guard and Reserves to suicide than die doing their jobs.

More Police Officers dies to suicide than dies doing their jobs.

More Firefighters die to suicide than die doing their jobs.

According to the CDC, suicides in America have continued to increase. While some want to suggest that since it has happened to everyone else, then, it is just the way things are. As pathetic as that thought is, what they do not acknowledge is fueling the loss of lives.

These men and women decided that saving lives was worth dying for...but their own life was not worth fighting for anymore.

Why? Who gave them that impression? Who allowed the thought to penetrate their brains that they were supposed to just suffer silently instead of turning to all the others they served with to help save their own lives?

Would they do whatever they could to save one of their own?

The pain is running silent, angry and deep. It is time to look in their eyes and tell them that it is time to #BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife because this time, the life needing saving is yours!

Barry Manilow - Read 'em And Weep
I've been tryin for hour just to think of what exactly to say
I thought I leave you with a letter or a fiery speech
Like when an actor makes an exit at the end of a play
And I've been dying for hours trying to fill up all the holes with some sense
I like to know why you gave up and threw it away
I like to give you all the reasons and what everything meant
Well, I can tell you goodbye or maybe see you around
With just a touch of sarcastic thanks
We started out with a bang
And at the top of the world
Now the guns are exhausted
And the bullets are blanks
And everything's blank
If I could only find the words
Then I would write it all down
If I could only find the voice
I would speak
Oh its there in my eyes
Oh can't you see me tonight
Come on and look at me
And read 'em and weep
If I could only find the words
Then I would write it all down
If I could only find the voice
I would speak
Oh its there in my eyes
Oh can't you see me tonight
Come on and look at me
And read 'em and weep
I've been whispering softly
Trying to build a cry up to a scream
We let the past slip away
And put the future on hold
Now the present is nothing but a hollowed out dream
And I've been dreaming forever
Hoping something would eventually come
I saw your eyes in the dark
I felt your kiss on my lips
I traced your body in the air
'Til the bodies were numb
Well, I could tell you goodbye
Or maybe see you around
With just a touch of a sarcastic thanks
But now the rooms are all empty
The candles are dark
The guns are exhausted
And the bullets are blank
And everything is blank
Oh it's there in my eyes
And coming straight from my heart

It's running silent and angry and deep

Oh it's there in my eyes
And it's all I can say
Come on and look at me
And read 'em and weep
Songwriters: Jim Steinman
Read 'Em and Weep lyrics © Carlin America Inc

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The lessons Vietnam veterans have to teach those who serve

Police Officers should learn from Vietnam Veterans

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 6, 2018

Yesterday I read an article that broke my heart. Then I thought about how it happened to other heroes that I spend most of my time with. They do not see themselves as heroes, but they are to me, especially my own husband.

Who wants to be a police officer? Job applications plummet at most US departments

The Washington Post
By Tom Jackman
December 4, 2018

Chuck Wexler talks to police chiefs frequently, as head of the Police Executive Research Forum think tank in Washington. Recently, he asked a roomful of chiefs to raise their hands if they wanted their children to follow them into a law enforcement career. Not one hand went up, he said.

Across the country, interest in becoming a police officer is down dramatically. In Nashville, job applications dropped from 4,700 in 2010 to 1,900 last year. In Seattle, applications have declined by nearly 50 percent, in a department where the starting salary is $79,000. Even the FBI saw a sharp drop, from 21,000 applications per year to 13,000 last year, before a new marketing campaign brought an upswing.

And retaining officers once they’ve joined is getting harder too. In a PERF survey of nearly 400 police departments about voluntary resignations, 29 percent of those who left their police job voluntarily had been on the force less than a year, and another 40 percent had been on the job less than five years. 

At a PERF gathering of police chiefs and commanders from across the country in Washington Tuesday, many attributed their declining numbers to a diminished perception of police in the years after the shooting and unrest in Ferguson, Mo., and an increase in public and media scrutiny of police made possible by technology and social media.
read more here

If you want to become involved in this kind of work, here are some things to consider.

First the obvious risk to your life followed by the actions of a few, being taken out on you. The second thing to consider is there is a valuable lesson you can learn from Vietnam veterans.

You may be too young to remember this, but you need to know so that you'll understand the rest of what you need to hear.

This is what most people heard about Vietnam veterans. 
"Everybody's heard of the My Lai massacre"
This was just part of Vietnam veterans being attacked when they came home, called baby killers an oh, so many other horrible things.

What they did not hear, was the other part of this story.

— March 16, 1968, 50 years ago — but not many know about the man who stopped it: Hugh Thompson, an Army helicopter pilot. When he arrived, American soldiers had already killed 504 Vietnamese civilians (that's the Vietnamese count; the U.S. Army said 347). They were going to kill more, but they didn't — because of what Thompson did.
For the most part, Vietnam veterans knew what they did and were honorable in horrible conditions.

They ended up hearing that Afghanistan is the longest war this country fought, but here is the truth on that part.
DCAS Vietnam Conflict Extract File record counts by INCIDENT OR DEATH DATE (Year) (as of April 29, 2008 )
Year of Death Number of Records 1956 - 1959 4
1960 5
1961 16
1962 53
1963 122
1964 216
1965 1,928
1966 6,350
1967 11,363
1968 16,899
1969 11,780
1970 6,173
1971 2,414
1972 759
1973 68
1974 1

1975 62

Mayaguez Incident

1976 - 1979 0
1980 - 1986 0
1987 1
1988 - 1989 0
1990 1
1991 - 1999 0
2000 - 2006 5
Total Records 58,220
Not that what was going on in 1968 excuses what happened, but you get the idea. This video is with MOH Sammy Davis Jr. and his wife Dixie. He is talking about what happened to him when he came home, just out of the hospital, after his actions were worthy of the Medal of Honor. It is cut in between one of the Nam Knights reading his citation, so that you can know the full power of his story, against what he came home to.

What I am getting at is simply, no matter how they were treated, they were always honorable, and like Sammy, did not give up on the American people, or themselves. Many went on to serve in other ways. 

Many more fought to make sure that no other veteran would ever, ever be treated like they were.

Because of their efforts, courage and dignity, they managed to provide such a powerful force for good that the government finally had to do something about PTSD. Everything that came afterwards, was due to them.

The thing is, they knew what was in their core and it was good. It was a desire to serve and a will to do whatever they could to prove who they really were inside. Today, they are cherished for obvious reasons, and now you know what the not so obvious ones are.

So, if you are a member of Law Enforcement already, thank you for what you do for us everyday, no matter how you are treated in return. You show up everyday knowing it could be your last day. You save people from criminals, rush toward gunfire, respond to accidents and ever increasing mental health crisis situations.

ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando police officer is being honored for saving the life of a veteran who was threatening to commit suicide.On Sept. 3, Officer Wesley Cook responded to the report of an armed, suicidal man who was holding a knife to his throat in the 400 block of West Amelia Street. 

This is not a job that people do because they do not care. It is a job you do because they care so much. It comes with a heavy price, so please, make sure that if you need help you ask for it. After all, you must know how important that is since you made it your career to help others.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

3 Fabulous stories of women changing the rules

Service women national treasures!

MJ Hegar Sued the Pentagon and Won. Now She's Running for Congress
MJ Hegar served in the Air Force for 12 years, first as an aircraft maintenance mechanic and later as a pilot. She deployed three times to Afghanistan, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross on her final tour. Courtesy MJ Hegar’s campaign

Carla Provost Becomes the First Woman to Lead the Border Patrol
Ms. Provost, who was appointed acting chief of the Border Patrol last year, will become the first woman to lead the Border Patrol in its 94-year history.
Carla Provost, who has been serving as acting chief of the Border Patrol, is being promoted to lead the agency. Credit:Lexey Swall for The New York Times

This all-female flight crew just made history
"While we are very proud to have made history yesterday by being the first all-female flight crew, we are more proud of the mission we are doing and the safety we are providing for people," said Waddington, who has been a pilot with the NOAA Corps for eight years.
Pilots Rebecca Waddington and Kristie Twining made history on their flight to Hurricane Hector.

Add those women to these!

Monday, November 13, 2017

$178 million investment for Florida's active military, veterans

Gov. Rick Scott proposes $178 million investment for Florida's active military, veterans
ABC 27 News
November 13, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Gov. Rick Scott says he supports a proposal to provide free college tuition to the families of first responders, state law enforcement officers and military members who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

The Florida governor announced that he will $178 million in total funding to support active military, veterans and their families in Florida as part of his 2018-2019 recommended budget.

He also said he supports a proposal being considered by the Constitution Revision Commission to provide free tuition to the families of fallen first responders, state law enforcement officers and military members who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

The proposal would make each family entitled to one four-year degree from a Florida state college, university or participating technical school.
$200,000 for search and rescue vessels and protective equipment for our National Guardsmen to use during deployment;

Nearly $8 million to begin operations at the Lake Baldwin State Veteran Nursing Home, which will allow this facility to serve more than 110 veterans in the coming year;

$2 million for Building Homes for Heroes to build and modify homes for veterans who were severely injured while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan;

$2 million for the Florida Defense Support Task Force, which helps support our military and defense communities and the many families who rely on them; and

$2.7 million to support veterans looking to obtain employment, start their own businesses and make Florida their home, including $1 million for Veterans Florida to continue their mission of helping veterans find great jobs at Florida businesses.
read more here

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Honor Flight Brought Veterans of Military and Law Enforcement to DC

Veterans who also served in law enforcement get a warm welcome home at CVG

Ashley Zilka
October 24, 2017

HEBRON, Ky. -- The country's first-ever law enforcement "honor flight" returned home Tuesday night to a waiting crowd of 1,000 well-wishers at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Airport. 

Honor Flight Network organizers said they had never seen such a large turnout to welcome passengers home.

"We need more of this in America," Chief Jim Gilbert, who accompanied his Vietnam veteran father Harry and brother Officer Eric Gilbert on the trip, said.

"(It was) overwhelming," Harry Gilbert added. "I never dreamed something like this. … I am at a loss for words."

The Honor Flight Network recognizes veterans by flying them to Washington, D.C., to visit memorials dedicated to the wars in which they fought. Tuesday night's was special in that, like Harry Gilbert, every passenger honored by the trip was a veteran who entered law enforcement when they left the military.
read more here

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Police Department Hired All New Veterans

New Lacey Police Hires Are All Combat Veterans
Five men welcome addition to department, where number of officers has dwindled over the past few years, police chief and mayor say
Lacey Patch
by Patricia A. Miller
July 11, 2014
The five young men at the July 10 Lacey Township Committee meeting stood ramrod straight as they posed for picture after picture.

Once they graduate from the Ocean County Police Academy in January, they will be Lacey's newest police officers.

A grateful Police Chief David A. Paprota thanked Mayor Gary Quinn and committee members for making the new hires happen.

"I'm inspired, I'm encouraged, I'm proud," he said. "Their backgrounds are incredible. We have high expectations of you moving forwards."

All five of the men were combat veterans either in Afghanistan or Iraq, the chief said.
read more here

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Veterans Court choice to "free of the demons that haunted them"

Fayette court program allows veterans to get physical, psychological help instead of jail time
January 1, 2014

Lexington veterans who run afoul of the law as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder, drug abuse or other issues stemming from their military service are getting a new chance under a recently launched court program.

The Fayette Veterans Treatment Court, which opened in early October, helps veterans get support and treatment for their physical and psychological problems as an alternative to simply sending them to jail.

Veterans who elect to go through the court — and can qualify — may have their sentences deferred while they enter an 18-month, court-supervised program of treatment and counseling.

The hope is that those who stick it out through the 11/2-year regimen will "graduate," ready to resume normal lives, free of the demons that haunted them.
read more here

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sheriff shares the story of PTSD

Cattaraugus County Sheriff Whitcomb shares the story of PTSD
Whitcomb makes presentation in Belmont to first responders
Wellsville Daily News
By Brian Quinn
Daily Reporter
Posted Oct 02, 2013

It might stay with you for a little while, but you’ll be able to return to normal on your own. It’s also possible, though, that you won’t be able to deal with it without help.

It is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and a group of around 15 law enforcement officers and first responders, mostly from Allegany County, got a sense of what it’s all about from Cattaraugus County Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb.

Whitcomb shared examples of events which could lead to problems with PTSD for military personnel, police officers and volunteer firefighters and EMTs. It can occur when someone responds to or comes across a life-threatening event.

“It’s a diagnosable disorder. It’s real. It’s in the book,” he said, referring to DSM-5 — the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Among the hypothetical situations Whitcomb put before his audience was that they are driving along when they come upon a car wreck. There is gas leaking, the engine catches fire and it’s obvious the vehicle will be engulfed. There’s also a pregnant woman trapped in the car. The person who finds the wreck tries to help the woman, but is unable to save her and has to retreat.
read more here

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Texas Police Officer, Deputy Shot; Suspect Killed

Sad update
AP: Hood County deputy dies of gunshot wound
Weatherford Democrat
Associated Press
June 29, 2013

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A Hood County sheriff's deputy died Saturday, a day after being shot by a man who was later killed by police.

Hood County Sheriff's Sgt. Lance McLean died at the John Peter Smith Hospital on Saturday in Fort Worth, Sheriff Roger Deeds said.

McLean was shot in the head by Ricky Don McCommas, 49, when responding to a disturbance call at a home near Granbury about 35 miles southwest of Fort Worth, Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Lonny Haschel said Friday.

"Everybody's having a tough time dealing with it," Deeds said. He said McLean was married and had two children.
read more here
Texas Police Officer, Deputy Shot; Suspect Killed
CREATED: JUNE 28, 2013

The suspect reportedly had an assault-style rifle and dozens of shell casings were found at the scene

GRANBURY, Texas -- Two law enforcement officers were wounded and a suspect was fatally shot Friday morning in an incident that ended near Granbury City Hall.

A Hood County Sheriff's deputy was flown to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth and a Granbury police officer was transported to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth. Their conditions were not known.

Details were sketchy, but the incident apparently started during a traffic stop in the Oak Trail Shores trailer park -- just outside of Granbury -- where a deputy was shot, according to the Hood County News.
read more here

PTSD Awareness must include first responders

June is PTSD awareness month
Marlena Hamilton
June 28, 2013

TYLER TX, (KETK) — June is post-traumatic stress disorder awareness month.

Not only do men and women from war suffer from this disorder, first responders do as well.

"They are dealing with things that aren't natural for human beings," said Smith County Sheriff's Office Chaplain Doug Haning.

Our police officers, firefighters and ems responders are there in times of trouble.

"We go on what we call auto pilot. Sometimes we are able to stay on auto pilot throughout the scene get through it and then it's time to start dealing with it,'' said City of Tyler Asst. Fire Marshal Laura Mason.

But, they experience situations and tragedies that no one can even imagine.

"Law enforcement and military are a lot alike they have the same stresses 99% of the time your dealing with the ins and outs of your daily business and then there is that 1% of the time where everything is upside down," said Haning.
read more here

PTSD I Grieve from Kathleen "Costos" DiCesare on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cocoa bank robber learns don't mess with a Marine

Ex-Marine Fights Off Armed Florida Bank Robber
Brevard Times

COCOA, Florida -- At approximately 1:05 p.m. today, Cocoa Police received a call of an armed robbery at the Wells Fargo bank on US-1 in Cocoa, Florida. Police quickly arrived on scene and were directed by witnesses to where the suspect may have fled. Police set up a perimeter and quickly located the suspect.

According to witnesses' accounts to police, the suspect, 43-year-old Edward Sotelo entered the bank wearing a construction-type hard hat with tape on the front and back, and a surgical mask.

Sotelo allegedly approached the teller window, pointed the gun at the teller and demanded money.

Police say thats when a customer of the bank, at the next window, saw what was happening and began fighting the bank robber. The bank customer is a former Marine and a former member of law enforcement.
read more here

Sunday, June 2, 2013

911 Dispatcher pushes for change after research project

911 dispatcher who took terrifying call pushes for change
Dispatcher gives new insight into deadly salon shooting rampage
May 31, 2013

Emergency calls flooded the 911 dispatch center when four people were gunned down inside of a Casselberry hair salon in October 2012.

"I went on the back porch and cried for a few minutes, then I had to compose myself and go back in to take the next call like it never happened," Brooklyn Mundo said.

Mundo was the dispatcher on duty and took some of the calls.

She turned her experience into a research project, surveying fellow dispatchers.

Mundo's results show 911 operators experience the same level of stress as law enforcement officers.
read more here

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Time for communities to stand up for National Guards

Time for communities to stand up for National Guards
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
January 27, 2013

"Connecticut suicides tied to military one a week" this about that for a second. Now think about all the members of the National Guards and Reservists and what they go through in our name. Aside from the obvious of being deployed to respond to natural disasters, they are deployed into combat as well. They are able, willing and ready to take care of the members of their communities as well as go wherever they are sent.

There is so much in this article to point out that it is hard to ignore any of this. It focuses on Connecticut "citizen soldiers" and how they are falling back home. There is an term used when a service member is killed in combat and the KIAs are "fallen soldiers" or "fallen Marine" but there doesn't seem to be such an honorable term for them when they take their own lives because of where they'd been, what they witnessed and endured in the nation's name.

For the Citizen soldiers of the Guards and Reserves, their identity is connected to serving others. That is why they join others, train to be able to respond to the needs of their communities. Most of them are employed in law enforcement, fire departments, emergency responders, medical fields and teaching. Some are employed in offices and other fields working side by side with people with little or no understanding of what they do as "weekend warriors" and even less of what they do as deployed into combat for a year while someone else has to take care of their jobs here at home.

How can they understand when few of them take an interest?

These men and women train with others from their own communities. As pointed out in this article, there is a bond that goes beyond meeting up with strangers on a military base and training. These are their neighbors. While the bonds in the military are strong, for them the bond has lasted longer.
"Schwartz noted the Guard and Reserve members are different than active Army because “they grow up together, they train together ... go to war together. It’s like going to war with your high school class. ... It’s just a very strong and intense bonding that people may never know.”

Most of the phone calls I receive from Moms come in from National Guardsmen and women, especially when they have been discharged. Their identity, much like the military members has been about service, so when they can no longer do it, they lose a part of their lives. With Citizen soldiers employed in law enforcement and fire departments, discovering they can no longer do those jobs or remain in the Guards, it is a loss too many can cope with. Everything tied to a lifetime of service has been taken from them. Who are they now? What are they supposed to do now? They spent their lives wanting nothing else, pulled into taking care of others to the point where they are willing to die for their sake.

To understand how deeply this can be connected to "who they are" just look at some of the news stories about amputees staying in the military. Civilians have a hard time understanding this.

But a Connecticut resident who serves in the Massachusetts National Guard saw it another way.

“The programs are there for the active-duty guys,” said Capt. Kyle Knowles. “The Guard guys, they’re put through the ringer of all these medical and psychological tests ... and then they go back into the civilian world, and you kind of lose track of them.”

Regular military members have a problem when they can no longer serve in the military due to combat wounds but hit harder when their wounds of combat come into them in the form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is hard for them when they never thought of doing anything else. Yet for members of the National Guards when they can no longer serve, it is harder because for them, disasters hit close to home and they must then cope with not being able to help as members of the Guards or for most, not being able to do their "day" jobs in law enforcement and as firefighters.

Here is just one example of a member of law enforcement and also a member of the National Guards
"Frederick L. Blohm Jr. , 42, is one such person. He has devoted his life to police work and the military and is now a corporal with the Indiana State Police and a second lieutenant with 113th Engineering Battalion of the Army National Guard, where he is an ordnance officer in Gary, IN.

He works about 60 hours a week as a trooper, while enthusiastically performing his Guard service one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer. He actively responds to calls from both services when off duty while fulfilling the demands of family life, with a wife, two sons and five stepchildren. Along the way, Blohm makes time for physical fitness and has volunteered for deployment abroad.

Self-effacing, Blohm credits his colleagues, as well as the support of the state of Indiana, its governor, the leadership of the Guard and his wife for being able to do all this. But to understand why he does it, it helps to go back to his roots."

It is impossible to ignore how dedicated members of the Guards are, not just to their communities but to the whole nation.
In Connecticut, veteran suicides on rise
The Register Citizen
By Joe Amarante
January 26, 2013

It was Veterans Day 2011 and Connecticut Veterans Affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz was on a float at a welcome-home parade in New York City, behind Connecticut singers performing the Star Spangled Banner and other patriotic tunes.

“You’re going down 5th Avenue and it’s just like in the movies! People are waving, it’s all going well,” Schwartz recalls. “And then you come home and there’s a message on your phone, and someone is calling because their sister who had served in Bosnia ... committed suicide. And you say to yourself, here on this day, to feel so alone...”

Her voice trails off as she recalls the day she heard veteran Lisa Silberstein of Hamden had taken her own life at 37.

Silberstein’s death was one catalyst for the expansion of a state support program for veterans, but the wave of returning vets from two wars and multiple deployments has arguably stacked the deck and pushed military suicide totals to disturbing numbers nationwide.

Active-military suicides are running almost one a day in this country, according to new Pentagon figures. There were a record 349 suicides among active-duty troops last year, up from 301 the year before.

A records check by Scwhartz of those buried at one of two state veterans cemeteries shows suicides are running about one a week in this state for active and nonactive service people. Officials on the front lines of the suicide prevention fight are fighting back with a mix of outreach, local clinical help and programs that partner with the huge and plodding Department of Veterans Affairs.

“She was very devoted to her military service,” said Dubuque. “Her work was her life ... and her identity was so wrapped up in being a soldier. After she got out ... it was hard for her to make that transition to civilian life.” Especially in a new state.
read more here

They need more help when they come home to heal from where they've been and they need programs that not only work for them but for their families as well. They stood up when their communities needed them and it is time for communities to stand up for them when they are the ones needing help.

National Guards and Reservists don't stop risking their lives when they come home from combat. When they need help to heal, they need it more than ever.

PTSD I Grieve from Kathleen "Costos" DiCesare on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Two tour Mom of two killed in car accident going to work

Iraq War vet killed in car wreck
Hinds Sheriff's employee served 2 tours, had 2 children
Jun. 26, 2012
Written by
Therese Apel

Col. Samuel T. Nichols, Jr, shakes Shametra Stamps' hand at Camp Shelby recently. The mother of two who served two tours in Iraq died in a car wreck Friday in Hinds County. / File photo/Hattiesburg American

Shametra "Meme" Stamps survived two tours in Iraq, including one as a driver.

On Friday morning, the veteran driver with the 365th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion out of Jackson, also a recent Hinds County Sheriff's Department employee, was killed in a car crash on her way to work.

"She put down many a mile up and down those roads in Iraq," said Sgt. Maj. Dwayne Howard, for whom Stamps was a driver both overseas and at home.

Stamps was a pro, he said. Even under fire, she kept her head.

Stamps, 30, who her friends say was a "girly girl," always maintained a positive attitude in spite of the rigors of the job.
read more here