Showing posts with label suicide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label suicide. Show all posts

Thursday, February 2, 2023

The late Captain James ‘Dustin’ Samples of the Cleveland Fire Department may still save lives

TN lawmakers name act after firefighter who died after long PTSD battle

FOX 17 Nashville
by Sydney Keller
Monday, January 30th, 2023

"We can’t legislate away traumatic accidents and emergencies, but we can remove obstacles to getting support when firefighters need it. Addressing the crisis of PTSD and suicide in the fire service requires a commitment to both prevention and treatment from all stakeholders and that’s what SB856 aims to do."

Two Tennessee Republican lawmakers filed an act Monday which aims at providing support for firefighters who are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

State Sen. Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) and Rep. Johnny Garrett (R-Goodlettsville) filed the James ‘Dustin’ Samples Act in honor of Captain James ‘Dustin’ Samples of the Cleveland Fire Department who sadly committed suicide in 2020 after a long-time battle with PTSD.

Sen. Bailey says that lawmakers owe it to firefighters and those who work to save lives to do all they can to prevent any risk of injury on the job.
read more here

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

Sunday, March 28, 2021


March 28, 2021

Houston Tumlin -- the kid who played Ricky Bobby's son in 'Talladega Nights' -- grew up to proudly serve his country, but sadly suffered from PTSD and depression as a result, which led to his suicide ... his mother tells TMZ.
Michelle Tumlin tells us ... her son honorably served in the U.S. Army for nearly 6 years, earning many accolades as an E-4 specialist in the 101st Airborne Division

Houston's awards include the Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, but Michelle says he was most proud of earning his Air Assault wings.

Michelle says, "Houston received a different set of wings" this week, and while the family is hurting from the loss, she says they want to stress to anyone who is suffering to reach out and get help.

She says ... "Houston Lee Tumlin was so much more than a child actor from 'Talladega Nights.' My beautiful boy brought joy to everyone he encountered and made them feel special. Houston fought his battle for years, and we will continue to fight for him."

We're told Houston will have a full military funeral, and his family marched in an event over the weekend in Helena, Alabama to raise awareness for veteran suicide and PTSD support.
read more here

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife from #PTSD

Sunday, December 6, 2020

I Am Broken Too

Copied from my other site, PTSD Patrol because after all these years on Wounded Times, it shows why I gave up working exclusively with veterans and their never meant anything to people I know.....

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
December 6, 2020

I am so pissed off right now my head is ready to explode! This is not going to be one of those cheery post with a chair dancing song, I picked I Am Broken Too by Killswich Engage for this reason.

I was on Facebook and a veteran friend of mine I've known for decades, posted about "22 veterans committing suicide today" and I flipped out! After 38 years of posting, tracking, treating veterans spiritually, educating and advocating, it meant nothing! Over 500 videos on YouTube, 3 books and way too many posts to count on Wounded Times along with my older sites and I had to read something like this from someone I know? WTF!

If you need help, veteran, family member or anyone dealing with PTSD, I know what it is like to feel lost and alone. I know what PTSD does as a survivor of over 10 events. What it was like for my veteran husband and what it was like for the veterans whose lives I saved! Above all, I know what it is like to need help and NOT FIND IT! So yes, I've been broken, beaten down and still willing to do the best I can everyday because this is something that is in my DNA after all these years.

If you need help, email me or call me 407-754-7526. Read the posts on PTSD Patrol and Wounded Times.

You carry this weight trying to cover your mistakes
To make it seem like nothing could ever break you
But I see right through, 'cause I am broken too
In all the same places as you
And if you needed proof, I'll reopen my wounds
Reopen my wounds, yeah
I see myself in you (in you)
I know you can make it through
If you needed proof, I'll reopen my wounds
In all the right places for you
So now you see the truth that you are broken too
I'll reopen my wounds for you
I keep making the same mistakes, just to feel alive again
It's the only way to break on through
So stop numbing all the pain
'Cause it just won't go away (won't go away)
If you only knew how much I needed you
And if you needed proof, I'll reopen my wounds (my wounds)
In all the right places for you
I can see the truth 'cause I am broken too
I am broken too (broken just like you)

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Adam Dutkiewicz / Jesse Leach / Joel Stroetzel / Justin Foley / Mike D'Antonio
I Am Broken Too lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Officials told us there is not a way to track PTSD and suicide rates, and that services for these first responders are scarce.

Senator Jackie Rosen Visits Fire Station To Talk About HERO Act

KTVN 2 News
by Bryan Hofmann
February 18th 2020
"We don't want to secondarily traumatize our spouses or our children with the stories of the things that we see, which makes hard to offload," said Reid. "If we can get some help from the senators office, that would be a great assistance to us not watching our brothers and sisters take their own lives."

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is often talked about when it comes to members of the armed forces, but it also affects others -- like first responders.

Senator Jackie Rosen introduced a bill to extend assistance to first responders ahead of touring a firehouse today and speaking with local officials. First responders usually see people on their most traumatic days, and often carry that memory with them. Officials told us there is not a way to track PTSD and suicide rates, and that services for these first responders are scarce.
"We have had more suicides in the fire service than line of duty deaths," said Derek Reid, Fire Captain with Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District.

That isn’t even taking into account the full scale of PTSD and suicide rates for firefighters. 100 percent of deaths in the line of duty are recorded, but suicide numbers are not always put on the record.

“We are receiving about 30 to 40 percent of confirmed cases of suicide within the fire service, so we are not even capturing all the data to get the true number of what the suicide rate is within the firefighter community," said Reid.
read it here

Monday, January 13, 2020

Voices unite to fight mental health crisis

Mental health crisis: We must speak with one powerful voice in 2020

The Hill
The systemic change we need to address our nation’s mental health crisis truly will not happen unless families, advocates, providers, and policymakers unite in support of a roadmap for change — and demand action from elected leaders.

For many, the start of a new year represents a clean slate — a chance to take stock of what truly matters in life and course correct in search of a better path.

Human resiliency is a powerful thing. Mental health and addiction professionals often say it’s why they do what they do. People can recover from their challenges and go on to lead productive, meaningful lives.

But resiliency alone is not enough for the one in six Californians who have a mental health condition or the 2.7 million Californians who meet the criteria for a substance use disorder. Access to quality, evidence-based care, and community support are equally as important.

However, as Californians know all too well, such care and support are not always easy to come by, often leading to tragic outcomes. Overdose deaths from opioids and methamphetamines continue to devastate families across the state. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for Californians age 18-34.

Jails and prisons serve as de facto “treatment centers” for some, and homelessness has hit epidemic proportions, primarily due to a combination of untreated mental health and substance use disorders and California’s affordable housing crisis.

Many who seek care using private health insurance face enormous roadblocks. A recent report by the actuarial firm Milliman found huge out-of-network utilization disparities between mental health/addiction and medical/surgical care for inpatient facilities, outpatient facilities, and office visits.

This means insured individuals are paying more out-of-pocket for mental health/addiction care than they are for medical care — mostly because health plans continue to reimburse mental health/addiction providers far less than their primary care/specialist counterparts, causing those providers to stop accepting insurance altogether.
read it here

Take the time to add your voice to this fight! I did! Go to Mental Health For US

Friday, January 3, 2020

Wounded by PTSD as Combat Medic, wounded again as firefighter, Ryan Mains fights so others can heal

Ryan Mains served others as an Army medic and a Woodstock firefighter. Now grappling with PTSD, he’s still trying to help.

Chicago Tribune
John Keilman
January 3, 2019
That grim statistic is serving as motivation for Mains. On May 30, he plans to run 1 km for every firefighter and paramedic who dies by suicide in 2019. So far, that distance works out to just over 77 miles — more than twice as far as he’s ever gone.

Ryan Mains, of Huntley, trains for an ultra-marathon in the woods of Veteran Acres Park on Dec. 11, 2019, in Crystal Lake. Mains will run more than 120 km next May, 1 km for each firefighter who committed suicide in 2019. Mains suffers from PTSD as as a result of his work as a combat medic in the armed forces as well as 14 years as a Woodstock paramedic/firefighter. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

The morning sky was the color of lead, the air was barely above freezing and the only sound was the crunch of dead leaves as Ryan Mains began a 10-mile run through Crystal Lake’s Veteran Acres Park.

He has come here for years to build his stamina on the park’s steep hills, preparing for races that stretch well beyond a marathon. But he also treasures the stillness. When he runs, observed by a few placid deer and the occasional owl, the memories that trouble him vanish like mist.

They always come back, though. He can never run far enough to escape them completely.

Mains, 39, is a veteran of the Iraq war and a longtime Woodstock firefighter and paramedic who has been diagnosed with a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder. The symptoms built slowly over years, ultimately becoming so pronounced that a few months ago Mains had to leave the job that he loved.

He’s now getting treatment while seeking worker’s compensation and a disability pension, but success is no sure thing: Unlike other states, Illinois does not treat PTSD as a “presumptive” condition, meaning firefighters must prove that their suffering is indeed the result of their work.
read it here

Monday, December 23, 2019

NYPD officer asked for help with PTSD, has to sue to make sure others get it?

NYPD veteran shunned over mental health issues to sue NYPD for $1M

New York Post
By Craig McCarthy
December 22, 2019
“The NYPD has repeatedly shown an ineptitude in dealing with the mental health of their police officers,” Oliveras’ lawyer, John Scola, told The Post. “We hope that this lawsuit will help shed light on those deficiencies and prevent other police officers from having to suffer in the same way as Jonathan.”

A cop who says the NYPD ostracized him for coming forward with mental health issues amid this year’s police-suicide epidemic now plans to sue for $1 million, The Post has learned.
Jonathan Oliveras
Stephen Yang

Twelve-year-veteran officer Jonathan Oliveras exclusively revealed to The Post in October that the brass stripped him of his gun — and bounced him around assignments before stationing him in a post with department screw-ups — after he admitted to NYPD doctors he was on anti-depressants.

His tale of woes even triggered an apology from former top cop James O’Neill and promised to make sure no one else was put through a similar experience.

But that same day, internal affairs showed up at Oliveras’ post to confront his bosses in an apparent effort to jam him up, he previously told The Post.

Now, eight weeks later, the NYPD has yet to reach out to the 40-year-old cop to try and make things right, he says.
read it here

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Hazmat crews clear air at Fairmont San Jose after chemicals used for suicide

Chemicals used in apparent suicide at San Jose hotel force evacuations

ABC 7 News
By Anser Hassan
September 1, 2019

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The Fairmont San Jose reopened late Saturday afternoon after four floors of the high-end hotel were evacuated that morning.

Hazmat units were sent to clear out the 19th floor due to toxic chemicals used in apparent death by suicide.

"Initial reports were saying that somebody had attempted suicide by using chemicals," explains San Jose Fire Captain Mitch Matlow.

San Jose police later confirmed the death by suicide in an email to ABC7 News.

Captain Matlow described the victim only as an adult female. He says the chemicals were found in her room.

"We determined that there were chemicals in the room, what those chemicals are or how many there were, I don't know," says Matlow, adding that, "The hazard was contained to that one room."

He says some guest may still notice an usual odor, but stresses that the air inside the hotel and the surrounding area is not toxic.

"The only issue is a bad odor, that is not dangerous, and the hotel is working very diligently to get rid of the odor by putting fresh air into the building," he says.
read it here

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Mayor Bill de Blasio's broke silence on suicide in his own family

Mayor Draws on Father’s Suicide in Dealing With Spike Among NYPD Officers

The Wall Street Journal
By Katie Honan and Tyler Blint-Welsh
Aug. 15, 2019

Mayor Bill de Blasio is trying to stem the spike in suicides among New York Police Department officers this year by speaking openly about his father’s suicide in urging them to seek help.

The mayor talked about his family’s experience in a letter he sent to NYPD officers on Wednesday night, shortly before a longtime officer became the ninth member of the department to die by suicide this year. The 56-year-old officer, who had been with the department for 25 years and served in its Strategic Response Group, fatally shot himself at a home in Laurelton, Queens, according to a police official. His suicide came a day after another officer fatally shot himself in Yonkers.

In his letter, Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, detailed the depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism that his father, a decorated World War II veteran, battled before killing himself. His father, who lost part of his leg during the war, died when Mr. de Blasio was 18 years old. Although his father was always strong physically, the mayor said, it “wasn’t the kind of strength he needed.”

“My dad couldn’t deal with what he had lived through,” he said in the letter.

“I say from experience: There is strength in asking for help—in doing the right thing for you and your family.”
read it here


Monday, August 12, 2019

More first responders saving others....but not themselves

For second day in row, NYPD mourning officer who died by suicide

NBC New York, citing law enforcement sources, reported that the officer who died Wednesday was 56 years and found in his Queens home after police were called around 6:15 p.m. Wednesday.

On Tuesday, another police officer died by suicide in Yonkers.

Since the beginning of June, seven NYPD officers have died by suicide, and nine since the beginning of the year.
read it here

FDNY captain found dead of apparent suicide in his Staten Island home: sources

AUG 06, 2019

An FDNY captain was found dead of an apparent suicide in his Staten Island home Tuesday morning, police sources said. The 53-year-old captain was found hanging in a closet of his Tottenville home at about 11:15 a.m., sources said. 

His name has not yet been publicly released. An autopsy is pending, a spokeswoman for the city medical examiner’s office said.

FDNY spokesman Myles Miller provided no details about the captain’s death Tuesday, though he said the department shared suicide prevention tips to its members after the suicides of seven NYPD officers this year — four of them over a three-week stretch.
read it here

NYPD suicides push officials to work to overcome stigma of asking for help

AUGUST 11, 2019
The study found that first responders failed to seek help because of the stigma of seeking mental health treatment in a profession that prioritizes bravery and toughness. It also found of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies across the country, “approximately 3-5% have suicide prevention training programs.”
The first sign something was wrong: The police sergeant didn’t show up for morning roll call.

New York Police Department officials went to his home, where they found him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. It was July 27, and the 30-year-old with eight years on the force was the NYPD’s seventh suicide this year, according to officials.

It’s news that rattled Police Commissioner James O’Neill, who says his biggest fear is another one of his officers is about to take his or her own life.

“Am I scared? I’ve got to be honest with you. Yeah, I am,” O’Neill told CNN during a recent interview at his office at One Police Plaza in Manhattan. “Maybe there’s somebody out there right now that’s in crisis or approaching crisis and just unable or unwilling to come forward.”

Over a two-month period, O’Neill has had often-painful conversations about a member of the department who killed himself. The number of NYPD suicides so far this year stands at seven — with five of those occurring since June.
read it here

FOX43 Focal Point: Heroes in Harm’s Way — First responders and mental health

AUGUST 11, 2019
"What they are seeing on a regular basis is not normal. We're responding to situations that would absolutely terrify another member of the public or completely devastate them if they've seen some of the carnage we've seen." Chief Jarrad Berkihiser

LANCASTER, Pa. -- For the third straight year, police officer suicides exceeded line of duty deaths in the United States. Local first responders are now sharing their battles with mental health issues. FOX43's Grace Griffaton takes a closer look at the toll the uniform can take. Lancaster Bureau Of Police lost a patrol officer last year after he took his own life. The loss hit the department hard, and it really changed how it looks at mental health. The flashing lights, the sirens, the tape, it's what civilians see. What first responders see, smell, and hear may never go away.

"Just watching what they do at an autopsy to four children - one being the same age as my daughter. It was kind of a gut bunch," said Chief Jarrad Berkihiser, Lancaster Bureau of Police. Flash back to August 22, 2003: Officers, including Berkihiser, respond to an arson on East Chestnut Street in Lancaster. Four children perished that day. "It was a homicide so I ended up spending 3 full days in the crime scene," explained Berkihiser. It wasn't Berkihiser's first time seeing trauma either; he spent his first 10 years processing violent crime scenes. "I was in a dark place in 2003, and it wasn't just one incident. What I found out? It was a culmination of multiple incidents over several years," he added.
read it here

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Monday, July 15, 2019

Many federal agencies can't tally fatalities outside of work hours

Agencies Boost Efforts to Stop Wildland Firefighter Suicides

July 15, 2019

Reasons for the rise are unclear, though some cite longer and tougher wildfire seasons and an increase in the number of wildland firefighters who previously served in the military and were already dealing with post-traumatic stress.
Federal wildland firefighting authorities are increasing mental health resources following an apparent increase in firefighter suicides in recent years.

Officials at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise say it's difficult to track the number of suicides because many federal agencies can't tally fatalities outside of work hours and some families don't want the cause released. But officials say there appears to be a jump in known suicides, so efforts are being boosted to get wildland firefighters help.

Experts say the high-intensity camaraderie of the wildfire season can be followed by months of isolation in the offseason and sometimes money concerns without a steady paycheck.
read it here

If you are reading this, there is a reason you are here.

The fact that over 7 million Americans have PTSD, and most from just one event, needs to sink into your brain.

Why? Because you are still just another human, susceptible to the same kind of events the rest of the population goes through. For us, it can be just one event.

That said, you decided to put your own life on the line to save as many other people as possible. For you, it is the one event too many. 

If you do not look down on the people you are risking your life for...THEN WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT YOURSELF?

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Monday, July 8, 2019

NYPD and Chicago lost two more officers to suicide

Hero cop sixth NYPD officer to take life in 2019

The Riverdale Press
Posted July 7, 2019

Five months later, however, Preiss was dead, reportedly taking his own life outside his Nassau County home June 26. He was the fourth New York Police Department officer to commit suicide in June, the sixth this year.

He was 53.
It was early in the morning on Jan. 27 when Liam Amir Rodriguez decided it was time to be born.
Officer Kevin Preiss, right, smiles with officer Roland Benson and the baby they helped deliver in January. Preiss reportedly died by suicide last month.

Liam’s parents, Naida and Jerry, began to make their way to the emergency room, except there was one problem: The elevator in their North Riverdale building was out of service. The contractions were starting, and on top of that, Naida needed to use the bathroom, so she returned to the apartment.

“Developments being what they were, my daughter could not leave the apartment,” Liam’s grandmother, Rebecca Maitin later explained in a letter. Maitin called 911, and within moments, two 50th Precinct officers were at the door.

Officers Kevin Preiss and Roland Benson helped deliver a perfectly healthy baby boy at 2:20 a.m., in a narrow hallway. Two weeks later, Preiss and Benson returned with a gift bag of baby clothes.

“There is good and kindness within New York’s finest and New York’s first responders,” Maitin wrote. read it here

Officials: Sheriff’s officer shoots himself to death on Northwest Side

Chicago Tribune
Rosemary Sobol
JUL 06, 2019

At least seven Chicago police officers have committed suicide in the last year. And the New York Police Department just experienced four suicides in three weeks, spurring the department to seek “psychological autopsies” to analyze the officers’ actions.

A Cook County corrections officer has taken his own life in a forest preserve in the Forest Glen neighborhood. Graham Hyland, 40, died of a gunshot wound to the mouth, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy Saturday determined Hyland’s death was a suicide. 

Hyland was found at approximately 9:45 p.m. Friday in the 5900 block of North Central Avenue, at the Ted Lechowicz Woods. Hyland was pronounced dead at 10:12 p.m., according to the medical examiner’s office.
read it here

If you decided to risk your life for a living...saving others, isn't it time you included saving your own life? #BrakeTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Thursday, June 27, 2019

NYPD 4 Officer Suicides in 3 Weeks

4 Officer Suicides in 3 Weeks: N.Y.P.D. Struggles to Dispel Mental Health Stigma

The New York Times
By Ashley Southall
June 27, 2019

First, there was the deputy chief facing mandatory retirement as his 63rd birthday approached. The next day, it was a veteran homicide detective who had talked dozens of people out of killing themselves.
Officers embraced on a street behind the 121st Precinct station house on Staten Island, where Officer Michael Caddy, 29, ended his own life on June 14.CreditCreditBryan Anselm for The New York Times

A week later, it was a young patrolman handling domestic violence cases and going through a divorce. Then on Wednesday, a veteran officer was found dead at his home on Long Island.

All four officers took their own lives this month with their service pistols, highlighting an uncomfortable reality: More police officers commit suicide every year in New York City than are killed in the line of duty, and the department’s efforts to persuade despondent officers to seek counseling have had only limited success.

Since 2014, an average of five New York City police officers have taken their own lives each year, according to the Police Department. Six have died by suicide in the last six months alone.
The recent cluster of deaths prompted Commissioner James P. O’Neill to declare a mental-health crisis and to direct officers to seek help.
read more here

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Boise Fire Department FINDING HOPE

FINDING HOPE: Boise Fire Department coping with suicide death, fighting stigma of mental illness

By: Karen Lehr
Jun 25, 2019
"New firefighters saw veteran firefighters break down, and they talked about their feelings and how they were feeling that day, and really that has changed the stigma around it," Doan explained. "Other firefighters are seeing it's okay to seek treatment, that it's okay to not be okay."
BOISE, Idaho — Tuesday, May 21 is a day most Boise firefighters will never forget. Early that morning, firefighters at Station #6 discovered Senior Firefighter Charlie Ruffing died by suicide while working overnight.
It was known within the department Ruffing was facing struggles with his mental health. He was undergoing counseling to deal with post traumatic stress injuries as a result of incidents witnessed on the job over the course of his 20 year career.

A recent bill - passed this legislative session - will soon allow those working on the front lines in Idaho to file for workers compensation to cover the cost of treating psychological injuries incurred while on the job, but Boise Fire is doing even more to make sure this never happens again on their watch.
read more here

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Friday, June 7, 2019

Boise Fire Department Grieves Loss of Charles Ruffing

ID Senior Firefighter Found Dead at Station

JUNE 3, 2019
Boise firefighter Charles Ruffing, 53, had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder before taking his own life in late May, according to the USFA.
Boise firefighter Charles Ruffing, 53, had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder before taking his own life in late May, according to the USFA.
Ruffing is survived by his wife, Tonya, five children and seven grandchildren

Ruffing Boise(ID) Senior Boise, ID, firefighter Charles Ruffing, 53. BOISE, ID, FIRE FIGHTERS, LOCAL 149 
An Idaho senior firefighter and driver-engineer diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder took his own life late last month, according to an on-duty death notification from the U.S. Fire Administration.

Boise firefighter Charles Ruffing, 53, was found dead May 21 at the department's Station 6, the USFA announced Monday. A memorial for Ruffing was held Saturday at the Nampa Civic Center, and hundreds of mourners turned out to pay their respects in the city where he was born.
read more here

Friday, May 24, 2019

Service dog killed by gator, owner committed suicide next day

Service dog mauled to death by gator outside Palmetto dog park

By: Victoria Price
May 24, 2019

PALMETTO, Fla. (WFLA) - PALMETTO, Fla. (WFLA) - Pet owners in Manatee County are sounding the alarm after a gator mauled and killed a man's service dog at Dog Leg Park at Buffalo Creek.

The attack happened Friday shortly before dusk. Sharil Dowling and other witnesses say the chocolate lab somehow got loose while outside the fence with its owner.

Next thing Dowling knew, the lifeless dog was slumped over a man's shoulders, covered in blood.

Dowling described the scene as horrifying but had previous feared such an attack was an accident waiting to happen.

"Most people, if they knew they were that close to marsh and gators, they wouldn't walk back there," she said. "I can't imagine the anguish that guy was in."

A line of trees just outside the dog park obscures wetlands, and both Dowling and other pet owners who frequent the dog park fear not enough people are aware of the dangers hidden away.

In the five years Tim Todd has come to Dog Leg Park, he knows of at least three dogs eaten by alligators. After Friday, he reached out to the county, demanding it put up warning signs.

"It was too late to do anything for that dog, but what could we do to help other people?" Todd asked.

Snake and gator warning signs were installed earlier this week.

News Channel 8 has learned the dog killed Friday, Java, was a service dog for Andrew Epp, a local man who suffered mental health issues. Epp was so distraught, according to family and friends, that he took his own life the very next day.
read more here

Monday, May 20, 2019

CIA Stars should not be defined by how they died

A CIA suicide sparks hard questions about the agency’s Memorial Wall

The Washington Post
By Ian Shapira
May 19, 2019

The CIA Memorial Wall in the main lobby of the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Va., pays tribute to operatives who “gave their lives in the service of their country.” (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

She had spent the year in Afghanistan targeting senior al-Qaeda and Taliban members from one of the CIA’s most important bases.

Ranya Abdelsayed was less than 48 hours away from returning to the United States in 2013 when a colleague found her body in her bed at the agency’s Gecko Firebase in Kandahar. At 34, she had shot herself in the head.

The next year, Abdelsayed was honored with a black star on the CIA’s vaunted Memorial Wall, which pays tribute to members of the CIA who, its inscription reads, “gave their lives in the service of their country.”

On Tuesday, the CIA will hold its annual ceremony to recognize the fallen, unveiling new stars on the increasingly crowded wall. But not everyone agrees that Abdelsayed — one of at least 19 CIA deaths in Afghanistan during the longest war in U.S. history — deserved that honor. Of the 129 men and women given stars, she is the only one to have died by suicide.

Nicholas Dujmovic, a longtime CIA historian who retired in 2016, said that Abdelsayed’s inclusion violates the agency’s own criteria — and that her star “must absolutely come off the wall.”

The famed memorial, he said, is reserved for deaths that are “of an inspirational or heroic character” or are the result of enemy actions or hazardous conditions. But, in addition to Abdelsayed’s, some stars have been awarded to operatives who died in airplane or vehicle accidents that had no connection with the dangers of their assignments.

“There’s been an erosion of understanding in CIA leadership for at least two decades about what the wall is for and who is it that we’re commemorating,” said Dujmovic, who has researched multiple agency deaths to see whether they meet the criteria for inclusion on the wall. “Now we have a suicide star on the wall. That’s not what the wall is for. Suicide is a great tragedy, of course. But the purpose of the wall is not to show compassion to the family. It’s to show who in our community is worthy of this honor.”
read more here

Worthy of this honor? Is that really what he said in denying inclusion of this star for a woman who faithfully served the CIA? 

He also said that the wall was to show "compassion" to the family but seems to think that her family should not be worthy of compassion.

If they had "an inspirational or heroic character" during their service, shouldn't they be worthy...for their service and not be defined by how they died?

Monday, May 6, 2019

Firefighter's last request, to not die in vain

Family stressing importance of mental health after death of Orange Twp. firefighter

ABC 6 News
by Haley Nelson
May 3rd 2019

ORANGE TWP, Ohio — The parents of a Central Ohio firefighter/paramedic are sharing a message about the importance of mental health for first responders, after his death.

Orange Township firefighter/paramedic Trever Murphy died by suicide on April 12th, after battling anxiety, PTSD and more this year. He was 28.

"We (saw) bits and pieces here and there," said mom Kathrine Murphy Hardin, "but, you could tell he was always the tough guy, 'I've got to hide this under this nice hard shell'."

His story is one of so many successes, say parents Kathrine and Gary.

"His motto was 'Go big, or go home'," said Murphy Hardin, "and that's what he did. He was top in his class in Columbus State, he excelled in high school."
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Dr. Jennifer Ashton on 'Life After Suicide'

Dr. Jennifer Ashton on 'Life After Suicide': 'Losing a loved one to suicide does not make the survivor weak'

Good Morning America
May 6, 2019
By sharing my story and the stories of others in my book "Life After Suicide," I have started to heal from the trauma of suicide. I am far from an expert, and part of me feels as if my pain will always be massive.

ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton is sharing the story of her ex-husband Rob's suicide and how it affected her family in her new book, "Life After Suicide: Finding Courage, Comfort and Community After Unthinkable Loss," in hopes of helping others heal after a similarly unthinkable tragedy.

As a doctor, it is much easier for me to be the one helping than it is to be the one asking for help. I much prefer being the one giving the healing advice than one receiving it. Also, despite my very public role in national media, I am actually a very private person, especially when it comes to something that I could associate with weakness, vulnerability, imperfection and failure.

So when it came to my own healing from the suicide death of my ex-husband, and the father of my two teenage children, the thought of speaking about my pain and grief publicly was terrifying.

Unfortunately, when suicide hit my family in 2017, I perceived this tragedy as the quintessential example of all of those negative traits -- and I obviously realize that I couldn't have been more wrong. But still, even though I knew rationally that losing a loved one to suicide does not make the survivor weak or a failure in any way, emotionally, I felt otherwise.
It's estimated that for every death by suicide in the U.S., 135 people are directly affected. This translates to over 6 million people a year. That's more than 20 million people in just the last four years alone.
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