To Josh's family / Leahsandra On the eve of Josh's birthday, I want to let the family know, all of you, that my thoughts and prayers are with you. And thank you so much, for sharing Josh's story, here, on the news, all the work you're doing to spread the truth about PTSD.
Much love to you all, Leahsandra
Josh a Iowa Veteran / Dana Hardy (Friend to Julie ) This is to Josh's parents, and all the rest of his loving family, includig my dear friend, his Aunt Julie.
On this day of recognition to all Veterans, past and present, you as the loved here on this earth plane -- as they say left behind -- must be having a variety of feelings and some significant ones of loss.
My son's father, is a Veteran of Korea, a Veteran of two times in VietNam, and 21 years in the Army. He is now retired but actually today is with our son in Cleveland, Ohio fishing. Our son is almost 37; they can still enjoy those events together. Because of the trauma your son went thru you are not able to have these earthly experiences. BUT you always have your loving and good memories. But look around parents of Josh and loved ones of Josh...he is here -- he is visiting you from the other side.
Josh through you his parents, and his Aunt Julie and others that have joined in to help bring awareness to the Veteran's plight of PTSD. There are several different types of PTSD and how it effects each individual. I am proud of how Josh is helpiing his brothers and sisters in uniform, out of uniform, or even trauma survivors. Thank you for having Josh so that he continues to help others even now.
Love and Peace to you all,
Veterans Day / SGT William Meeuwsen's Wife Thinking of you Joshua on Veterans Day and everyday! God Bless you for your service! You will always be remembered with respect, honor and gratitude!
Sincerely, Lauren Meeuwsen
Tribute/ BRUCE LORRY (Veteran USMC 67/70 ) To Randy, Ellen, and Julie;
I want to express my Condolences for your loss. Althought words alone cannot take away the hurt and emptyness you are feeling right now. Time will ease the passing of SPC Joshua Omvig, but you will never forget. You will remember all the good times you all shared together, his smile, the twinkle in his eyes, his laugh and his big heart.
http://www.ktiv.com:-80/News/index.php?ID-=3258/ Chaplain (Major) Lonnie J. Potter I saw your interview at the above website and was touched deeply. As a 100% disabled 1991 Gulf War veteran and a Chaplain, I would like to offer my condolences for your loss. Rest in Peace Brother Josh.
Chaplain (Major) Lonnie J. Potter Special Projects/Public Relations Officer Headquarters (HQ) Division United States Corps of Chaplains
PTSD/ Lauren Eisiliones
It seems that PTSD is an forgotten term. Except for those who have it or live with it.
It seems that our government feels that the PTSD is far worse in the Iraqi War.
I've heard there were 79 suicides reported since March of 2003. These were ones that were reported. What about the ones that weren't. What about the families who don't want to face the facts. Those who are humiliated or disgraced with the choice made.
I feel only compassion for these young men and women. I don't even care if they were 60. Most of us were not programmed to kill or to watch others being killed. They are not programmed to see what they are seeing.
PTSD doesn't always lead to actual death. Sometimes it leads to a mental fog. It doesn't always matter what the world thinks anymore. Prisons are full of veterans suffering from it. Homeless Shelters are sometimes frequented by the sufferers. Marriages are broken by the effects of it.
I live in Michigan and a young man in McBrides chose to end his life rather than go back.
A grandmother told me about a phone call she got from her Grandson afther he saw his buddy get blown up. She asked if he was getting help. He said he had to wait 4 hours to see the chaplain on Sunday.
It is not, in my estimation a defecency on the part of these soldiers, but on our government not to think that was inevitable.
If killing was so easy what makes them think that it wouldn't be so easy when they returned.
I pray every night for these soldiers, for their wives, mothers, children, sisters & brothers. I pray for the communities as they return, not to shut them out.
I just wonder if one more day might have helped them to decide not to take the drastic measures they did. If counseling were available would they have taken it. I know I am rambling but that is because I cannot change what has happened, I just wish that I could have.
I have contacted my congressman and asked him to vote for this bill and await his response.
God Bless you in your efforts.
God bless those who suffer in silence / Alan Hensley Randy and Ellen,
I wish to offer my deepest heartfelt sorrow in your loss. I just today met with Terri Jones, who also lost her son. It makes my heart ache. As a 25-year plus military veteran who often served in places I never was doing things I never did, I can understand your son's sense of isolation and abandonment. The military mental health community was caught unprepared for what we are experiencing now -- a trauma that will last for generations. Many will suggest that we also neglected the Vietnam vet. This war, however, is much more personal and strikes at the fundamental core values of our fighting men and women. The insurgency is well-versed on our morals, ethics and values -- one that respects life. They realize that, as a nation, we honor and treasure our women. This is the first time in our nations history that we have lost females in the horrendous manner that we are, and the insurgency revels in this. This is the first time we have ever seen female suicide bombers, and the insurgency exploits this. This is the age of dismemberment and carnage because the enemy knows it strikes at the very heart of our values. The highly sophisticated war that our government predicted is not to be -- because it doesn't strike at the minds and hearts of our men and women in uniform.
I retired from the military in 1997 after 25 years of doing and seeing things that many would consider the creation of Hollywood. I too suffer from PTSD, and contrary to conventional wisdom, you can't just "snap out of it." It becomes ingrained into who we are and how we react. Even today, I have a ritual of surveying a restaraunt when I enter, knowing where the exits are, being able to monitor all activity around me and needing to leave if I can't control my environment. Unfortunately, one of my sons followed in my footsteps and engaged in the toughest assignments the military has to offer. He too has been in Iraq four times and just recently returned to England. I can understand the apprehension and fears that all parents feel.
After 9/11, I resumed my pursuit for my PhD and have dedicated the rest of my days on earth to helping my brothers and sisters in arms overcome that which they saw. I have the benefit of not being in the military any longer, so I am not constrained by the micromanagement of military rules and requirements. I offer my ears, mind, and heart to any veteran of OEF/OIF at any time. I am a member of Operation Enduring Families in Iowa. We personally meet with each and every National Guard person within 90 days after they return. In our counseling, we encourage participation by the spouses, parents, and significant others of the National Guard personnel in counseling and couples communication. The Adjutant General has made this debriefing mandatory for all, which releases the stigma commonly associated with seeking help -- It's just something everyone has to endure :) While many are resentful and apprehensive when we begin, all leave with a sense of release and relief. Without fail, we have spouses come to us following the sessions and tell us "Thank you, that is the first time we have truly talked since he/she retuerned. We choose 90 days because, typically, PTSD symptoms do not surface to the level that the individual realizes until that point. Upon request, we also meet with the units again at a later date to resolve issues that arise after the first session.
I am currently begining a study entitled "Predisposition in PTSD." I suggest that many of our young men and women already suffer from childhood trauma prior to entering the military. We need to resolve those issues before they are exposed to the worst humanity has to offer, not afterwards. Consequently, we need to seek out and resolve those issues first. I am also suggesting all military members should receive mandatory counseling 90 days after they return. Thus, the men and women would not be detered by the stigma associated with seeking and receiving mental healthcare.
To the men and women who are about to deploy or need to talk after returning, if you don't call me, call your minister, call someone in your family, or call a close friend. Please don't "suffer in silence." You will not be considered any less a man or woman. You are someone's son, husband, father, daughter, mother, and wife. You are precious and worthy of help.
Randy and Ellen, I would love to meet and talk. Just give me a call. God bless and comfort you. Leave room in your heart for the angels to work, Alan
Alan L. Hensley, MS, BCETS Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress Diplomate, American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress (AAETS) Member, Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists Member, American Counseling Association (712) 526-2401 (402) 650-1101 (Cell) (402) 233-9891 (Pager)
Prayers/ Doris Boswell (fellow Iowan )
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I cannot even imagine the pain you are going through.
You have done a wonderful thing with this website. I sat for hours going through everything. There does need to be more available for our troops that come home. All I can say is do not give up!!!
My husband is an Army Combat Vet (4 combat tours). He recently came home from Iraq. He is very prideful....as all men are. I knew he needed to go and talk to someone. I did not have to tell him, he realized it for himself. I was so proud of him when he took that first step. He has been recently diagnosed with PTSD. To what degree, we have not found that out yet. I know this is a VERY common thing for the Military. Sad but true. He has encouraged all of the guys he was with to go talk to someone....anyone. I wish everyone was able to do that. My father is a Viet Nam vet....he never talked to anyone. I believe he also has PTSD. Because he did not ask for help, today he is an alcoholic. I still love him...and always will...he is my daddy! It still hurts to know that he could not open up and ask for help.
My thought and prayers are with your family and friends that are grieving for this wonderful Soldier. I am grieving with you, because no Soldier should have to go through what yours did when he came home. I grieve with you because it could have been me and my family. I grieve with you because of the pain and heartache you are going through.
With deepest heartfelt sympathies to you and your family and friends,
My Condolences / Janet (Passerby) Julie my heart goes out to you and the other members of Josh's family. Suicide is so hard to be left to deal with and creates another kind of PTSD. What a shame our government doesn't do more to help those who have defended and protected our country. What a wonderful legacy for Josh to become so active in the awareness of PTSD. http://joseph-g-smith.memory-of.com/
The VA and PTSD / SSG Charles E. Howard(US Army, Ret.) (Comrade in arms )
I offer my prayers to the Omvig family. I served on the DMZ, separating North from South Korea. It was a hostile fire zone from 1966 to 1969. My PTSD didn't start until 1997 when I started having nightmares about Korea and the combat I saw, which most people know nothing about. The dead and wounded are known only to God, their families and their fellow 2nd Division soldiers.
I went to the VA for help. They did an evaluation and said I was entitled to go on the Agent Orange Registry, but they did not feel I had PTSD. I didn't make a fuss or do anything about it with the VA. I srtarted seeing a friend of mine who is a phyciatrist. He started me on anti depressants and anti anxiety mediction. Later he put me on a mood stabilizer.
The damage to my 20 year marriage was already done though. I was divorsed in 2004 by a good woman and a RN because I still could not work and I was very unpredictable. I would have commited suicide except for the medication, my daughters and my grand children. That doctor probably saved my life. I'm still on the medication and probably will be for life.
Wives, girlfriends, mothers and fathers, look at your son or daughter and if they act depressed and have anxiety or mood swings get them to a doctor fast. It is probably PTSD. In combat you see horrible things and do things that are against your nature because you are a soldier. There is no self cure. Don't let them make excuses. If they do, admit them to a VA or regular hospital mental health floor. You will probably save a life.
My Condolences to OMVIG family. / Rabah Belkebir (none) Dear OMVIG family.
My name is Rabah Belkebir I am a Disabled American vet my self , I served in Fort-drum New-York , I just want to present you my sincere Condolences , to you all , and tell you that your son in our heart as a good Americans still a live, be cause he die as a Hero . Be cause of these wars our country is loosing the best women and men . I am priying every day for all the families like you who lost there love ones . I know that one day we will have a good Americans in the Congress and the senate , who will realise what these braves women and men did for our country. and before they make any decision to go to war , they will think twice is it worthed to sacriface our best citizens because any one interest (oil , weapon business) or any country Democratie or safety. We join the Army not to defend some ones interest not some countrie democratie but ours, our democratie , our safety our people our countrythis is what I want to die for . Dear OMVIG family god will be with you. In America we have what we call heros people like your son and those who die for us and those who served , and the others are some politicians in the senate , congress who take all theire rights away. We have here in new-york some of these politicians who are serving the interests of some business owners like the BID fifth ave NYc by taking away the rights of disabled veteran given for them by the constitution of new-york since 1894 yes 1894 and today some politicians took these away from them , and there is another one this moth NYC concil voted a budget and there is nothing for the vets not even a pennie. Dear Americans we have a lots of enmies oversise , we have some locals too and they are geting theire salaries from our taxes money. what a shame they are seling our blood for a dollar. what a shame one third of a homless population in new-york are veterans. For The OMVIG family and all the othere familie who lost theire love one and all those who served god bless you and god bless our country.
Sincerly Rabah Belkebir Disabled American Veteran from New-york city
Carla Stumpf Patton, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention / Carla Stumpf-Patton (Marine Corps Veteran Suicide ) I would like to offer my support to your family. I lost my husband, Sgt. Rich Stumpf, nealry 12 years ago, when he died by suicide, resulting form untreat mood disorders, substance abuse, and PTSD.
He was a USMC Drill Instructor as PArris Island, SC, MCRD. He took his life in a public suicide,in front of his fellow Marines and boot camp recruits, a couple of days before our first baby was due to be born .
I know serve as a community advocate for suicide prevention, working for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (www.afsp.org ), as well as support other organizations, including the Marine Corps Suicide Prevention Program based in Wash, DC.
Thank You / Kris Wiesner (None) My husband was a MP in the Army National Guard in Wisconsin. He has been diagnosed with PTSD for 2 years now and has gone through extensive treatment for it. When he came back from a 18 month tour in Iraq he was a totally different person. He has lost his job a love for being a sheriff's deputy because they were scared to employ a person with his disease. I just want to offer my sympathy to you and your family. I lost most of my husband in this war and understand how difficult this is. I hope that one day everyone will be able to understand the sacrifice our soldiers have made to keep us free. May they never die in vein. Kris
ptsd/ Karla (none) I am so sorry for the loss of Josh and all others. My Prayers go out to all of the families. I am a retired East Coast Police Officer (female), who suffers from ptsd. ( Causually related to the harassment that I incurred on the job by fellow Officers) All I got from fellow Police Officers, and Supervisors,were comments over the radio calling me crazy, being told that if I could not handle what they did to me, then I should quit. Suffering from PTSD caused me to almost take my life! I chose to walk off the job instead. The badge and gun were handed in and I walked away from my dream job! Therefore, I know what these soldiers are going through. It is just brushed under the carpet! It seems to be a very big losing battle. Again, I am so very sorry to anybody that suffers from this and my apologizies and Sympathy go to all family and friends of anyone with this that suffers.
Not a day goes by when I don't think of you Josh. The candles burn for you every day, and for every young man or woman who is or who ever has laid their life down for our country. Your story will touch millions, and you will live on forever through the legacy we will create for you by sharing your story so others may live. We carry the torch for you on this end....forever.
I love you, Aunt Julie
So Sorry / Winifred Fletcher (none) Hi I am so sorry to hear about your son Josh at such a young age .......my heart goes out to you as parents .....i know how you feel i lost my daughter not in the same circumstances............yes PTSDis a silent demon ...aand when one is asked about it .it is hard for them to explain.........my husband was in vietnam for 4 years and took 5 trips into vietnam but only landed once on vietnam soil when he was volunteered to the rescue because he was a skilled shooter when he was going back into the chopper he was shot twice and landed in hospital he also was injured on the ship where his knees was smashed and he has suffered ever since with them what i am coming back to he never complained untill recently as we have only been married four years and i was the one who made him seek help ......after 30 years of suffering with this problem...... there was a fire on the ship as he was in the navy he rescued 12 men some dead and he saw quite a few people killed .what i am coming back to he never got his purple heart . medal .the va doctors said he wasnt shot whilst on duty they said they couldnt find his papers .he has diabetes and heart trouble and they said this wasnt related to the services.......i feel my husband has slipped through the nets .they pay him the minimum pension and his ptsd ahas got worse.....but i still feel for this young man .may his death not be in vain .......i pray that through this trauma god will bring help for others ........my heart goes out to josh,s mum and dad.and i will pray for you all....... may god rest his soul ...... in the lovely name of jesus...wyn fletcher