In the past year my husband and I attended funerals for two different soldiers my husband served with – they both committed suicide. I remember sitting there at the first funeral and only being able to remember his smile and his ability to get anyone around either smiling or laughing. He was a husband and father of a baby girl that everyone said was helping to pull him out of this dark place he seemed to be living in. The second funeral was someone I had gotten really close to while I worked with the FRG and this one hit me hard. He was one of my dancing buddies at the Military Ball, he never walked by me without giving me a hug, and put up with me harassing him about his obsession with working out. How did this happen? What did we miss?
My son saw how this had affected my husband and I and he decided to do a paper on Suicide in the Military for his Psychology class. I was shocked by the statistics he found. There were numerous web sites and articles that were stating that for every 2 service members killed in combat, another service member committed suicide. How was I just hearing about this? Why wasn’t this front page news? My heart was breaking because I felt like there was so much more that needed to be done to make people aware and more programs for those struggling with thoughts of suicide to turn to.
Fortunately, there are people out there with a passion to help reduce and eliminate suicide among out active military and veterans. Antonio Centeno, a business owner who lost two fellow Marines and a sister to suicide. He decided to use his business to raise money for the organization Stop Soldier Suicide. If you visit the website and watch the video you will see that one active duty service member and 22 veterans commit suicide a day. These numbers are mind boggling to me. Stop Soldier Suicide helps fund free mental health care and other resources that can help them overcome what is becoming an epidemic.
Mr. Centeno has committed to donating $50.00 per tie for 400 military inspired ties. This will raise $20,000.00 for Stop Soldier Suicide. What an awesome way to honor the memory of his friends and his sister. I am excited that we all have to opportunity to be a part of this great cause. To purchase a tie that will help raise money for this great cause please visit this site and help make a difference.