People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.. ~George Orwell

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Spotlight: Veteran commits suicide in Mishawaka, Indiana VA parking lot

Mishawaka, IN, (August  24, 2018) VRI — A veteran shot himself yesterday in the parking lot of the VA Health Care Center in Mishawaka -- dead from an apparent suicide.

We often don't report suicide, but this is not about drawing attention to an individual. Rather, we are hoping to raise awareness and help people who are struggling.

This is an issue that impacts people and families every day. In our country, 22 veterans commit suicide every day. That's one every 65 minutes.

One local vet says that's one too many, and that's why it's important to know that there are services in our area that can help.

Kent Laudeman, a Vietnam veteran, knows firsthand what's it's like being exposed to situations that can contribute to mental health issues.

“In the service when you’re deployed, I don’t care if you’re a transporter of anything like that, you’re going to experience things you never thought you would experience in your life,” said Laudeman.

When he returned home after the war, he had a family and found work. He says he's one of the lucky ones.

“When you’re by yourself you can get pulled back in to those negative kinds of experiences, and that’s what’s going to contribute to someone spiraling down having thoughts of suicide,” said Laudeman.

Laudeman says while some people can handle being back, others can't.

“I think veterans unfortunately, men and women, have been exposed to situations that they think they should be tough and be able to handle it,” said Laudeman. “In many cases you need to express that in a group kind of way, in a therapist kind of way.”

He says veterans shouldn't be afraid to ask for help, and relatives, friends, and even strangers should recognize when things don't seem right.

“What’s wrong with saying, ‘Hey how are you feeling? Is something bothering you? Can I help you?’” said Laudeman. “There’s nothing wrong with asking that question. I think that little question may break the ice.”

He says that the first step and by talking to someone and you could start to move forward.

Again, if you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, don't be afraid to ask for help.

You can contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1.

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

The Bikers Helping Veterans program of Indiana has a direct line where you can contact a veteran directly to talk. Their number is 317-801-1904 and is answered day or night.



Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Sgt. Nichole Olson of Beech Grove, Indiana attends Prayer Luncheon

Uijeongbu, South Korea (August 14, 2018) — The 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division Unit Ministry Team held a 2018 Victory Prayer Luncheon in honor of Korean Liberation Day and Victory in the Pacific Day at Mitchell’s Grill Aug. 13.

More than 150 members of the 2ID/RUCD community varying in rank, position, and background met in observance of the event.

“This is a two-part celebration as we commemorate the U.S. victory in the Pacific, which ended World War II and the liberation of Korea from imperial Japan rule,” said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Hyeonjoong Kim, 2ID/RUCD command chaplain and Seoul native. “We reflect on the spiritual fortitude of our Soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in support of the nations,” he added.

Following singing of the Korean and American national anthems by Ms. Song Ok Namgung, a contemporary Christian jazz singer, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion Chaplain (Capt.) Steve Love and Republic of Korea Army Chaplain (Capt.) Byungki Lee, 16th Mechanized Brigade gave the invocation in English Korean, respectively.

“There are two important days in your life: when you are born and when you discover the purpose of why you were born,” said Chaplain (Col.) Chul W. Kim, Eighth Army command chaplain and Seoul native.. “Everyone has a purpose in this life, it’s not random.”

Chul Kim spoke about how strengthening spiritual fitness can help Warriors focus their core beliefs to understand their identity, purpose, and sense of connection.

Chul Kim’s remarks resonated with Sgt. Nichole L. Olson, intel analyst and Beech Grove, Indiana native, who was inspired to attend future events as she enjoyed the communal atmosphere of the luncheon.

“It was altogether a wonderful time with the beautiful prayers, great music, and delicious Mexican food,” said Olson. “Loved the fact that it was open to both nations, regardless of religious denomination. Everyone can enjoy the luncheon and freely talk to their neighbors.”

After months of preparation, members of the 2ID/RUCD Unit Ministry Team agreed the event was a success.

“It was refreshing to see the immense involvement with this luncheon,” said Master Sgt. David M. Kress, a Cleveland native and religious affairs leader. “The Victory Prayer Luncheon was a testament of members of the Warrior community gathering and celebrating the division’s spiritual strength on a day fundamental in establishing ROK-U.S partnership on August 15, 1945.”

More than 73 years later, spirits are uplifted in reverence, song, and prayer as the bonds formed within the combined division flourish with the common goal of perennial peace on the Korean peninsula.

STORY: Sgt. Raquel Villalona, 2ID/RUCD Public Affairs