James R. Woodford, loving father, brother, uncle and son, age 48, of Columbus passed away on April 24, 2010. Jamie was a 26-year veteran of the United States Air Force. He served in Afghanistan and on a multitude of other missions in the service of his country. He was honored with the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with a Bronze Star, and too many other honors and awards to list. He was fluent in several languages and used these skills extensively throughout his Air Force career. Jamie was proud of his service with high-level government agencies including the Pentagon. He was a small arms expert, and a National Rifle Association lifetime member. Jamie will be greatly missed, and forever loved and respected. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dispatch/obituary.aspx?pid=142500340#sthash.otBbum6p.dpuf
Burley knew from a young age, that he wanted to join the military. He loved his country and all that it stood for. He wanted his 3 children to grow up with the same freedoms and securities that he had as a child. He was a very loving husband and father. Burley John Winsor was born Sept. 28, 1983, in Kingman, AZ. He joined the Lord on Jan. 11, 2016, in Chloride at just 32 years old.As a young boy growing up in Dolan Springs, he captured life. He completed the Arrow of Light in Boy Scouts. As a teenager, he joined Civil Air Patrol. At just 17 years old, Burley completed his first solo flight under the direction of Mr. Kornmeyer.Right after graduation from Kingman High School in 2002, Burley decided to sign on in the Air Force. He married his grade school love Aug. 17, 2002, the day after he completed boot camp. He trained at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, to be part of security forces. He was then stationed for six years at Lackland AFB. He went on various TDYs and completed two tours in Iraq. He received various medals and ribbons for his exceptional skills.After being honorably discharged, Burley and his wife moved back to the Kingman area. He focused on their three children as a stay-at-home dad.Burley was always full of life and always willing to help others, even while suffering from PTSD and having a mild traumatic brain injury from an IED in Iraq. His smile, his laughter and his love for his wife and children will be greatly missed.#22toomany #OurHeroes are #NeverForgotten
http://wkrg.com/2016/06/27/family-of-veteran-reaches-out-to-ptsd-sufferers/Family Of Veteran Reaches Out To PTSD SufferersOn Memorial Day of this year, Drew Winkler, a U.S. Air Force Veteran from Crestview, Florida became a statistic. One of 22 veterans commit suicide everyday, but Winkler’s family is hoping change will come from their tragedy.At 26 years old, Drew Winkler had a lot to live for. He was the father of two small children, 3 year old Christian and 18 month old Caydan.Drew’s parents, Rebecca and Rick Winkler describe their son as happy and outgoing, but said serving the U.S. Air Force in Iraq changed him. “I watched him crash on our couch. I just watched him crash and go into a dark hole to him putting a blanket over head,” said Rebecca Winkler.Diagnosed in Italy with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Drew returned home a different person.“He came back. We knew immediately. I mean it wasn’t very long until Rick and I actually had a conversation I told him. I don’t know who that is”, said Rebecca Winkler.Drew’s parents say he suffered night terrors and talked about demons. On Memorial Day, he posted his final comment on Facebook. “1 of 22 per day…….whey (why) can’t they just help us…goodbye”.Shortly after that haunting Facebook post ,Drew’s younger brother found him outside his parents’ home in his car where he had shot himself in the head.The Winklers have so many questions for Drew that they’ll never have answered. They also have a lot of anger, saying Drew repeatedly reached out to the V-A for help for his PTSD but, constantly got the runaround.“Enough is enough. No more babies should lose their parents. No more parents should have to bury or put to rest their children. No more siblings should have to watch their brother or sister in a casket”, said Rebecca Winkler.Drew’s brother, Corey said, “I mean if he’s asking for help. Listen and I think that would be the biggest message Drew would want people to know Is you know..the run around is no longer gonna be accepted”.Many people are participating in the push-up challenge in Drew’s honor. They’re doing 22 push-ups a day for 22 days to spread awareness. The Winkler Family has also created a Facebook page. Winkler’s wish 22 to zero. Moderators manage the page to give Veterans someone to talk to about PTSD.“We know what you’re going through is real because our son went through it until he couldn’t fight anymore and our last wish…and Winkler’s wish..is that it goes to 22 to zero and that no more veteran feel like they have nowhere to go. No one to talk to and no other steps to take because enough is enough”, said Rebecca Winkler.In addition to helping other veterans, The Winklers are trying to raise money to help support their grandsons.1. <http://www.plumfund.com/fundraising/fund-for-drews-boys>2. Coastal Bank Acct# 0632081403. Or mailed to Drew WinklerC/O Richard Winker458 Jillian DrCrestview, FL 32536______________________A veteran loses his fight with PTSD and takes his life on 30 May 2016, leaving behind two small sons. After fighting his demons for over 5yrs, his last Facebook post was, “1 of 22…why can’t they just help us…goodbye.” After a military deployment, Drew suffered from PTSD and Anxiety Disorder, seeking help from the VA for 5 years with NO real results. Drew was an amazing person who’s personality and smile brightened everyone’s day all while struggling with his own pain and demons. He loved his family and children completely.______________________ Drew’s parents sharing his story in hopes that they can’t prevent others from having to share this same pain:https://www.facebook.com/JennifermHolton/videos/975669039218506/______________________ Drew Winkler, age 26, of Crestview, died Monday, May 30, 2016, Memorial Day, after losing his long 5 year battle with PTSD. He took his life after being unable to continue fighting “these demons in my head every day and they are winning.” He was just 1 of 22 Veterans suffering from PTSD each day who take their own lives when they can fight no more.Most importantly, he was a loving father, caring son, loyal and trusted brother, and selfless friend. His was a life lost far too soon.He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Billy and Mary Jane Winkler, and grandfather, Paul Bramble.Drew is survived by his parents, Rick and Rebecca Winkler; sons, Christian and Caydan; friend, love and children’s mother, Jamie Custer; brothers, Corey Winkler (wife, Irmma), and Craig Winkler (girlfriend, Anissa Thompson); and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.A gathering to celebrate Drew’s life will be held on Saturday, June 4, 2016, from 2:30 to 4:30 PM, at Crosspoint, South Crestview, 2250 P J Adams Pkwy, Crestview, FL 32536. Please join Drew’s family in sharing memories of this wonderful man. Casual attire please!In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the GoFundMe on his Facebook page, or PayPal account – email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org or Coastal Bank and Trust Acct# 1008407353, routing No. 063208140 – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nwfdailynews/obituary.aspx?pid=180197181#sthash.fPTSwJ1j.dpuf Memorial YouTube Video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lisb2KQM17Q&feature=player_embedded
Family plans ride to memorialize Air Force sonBy BAILEY LOOSEMOREHis dog tags hang around his mother’s neck.The black Jeep Wrangler he bought to go mudding sits unused in the garage, and a motorcycle he meant to sell for parts remains dismantled in a box outside.On the living room wall, a GI Joe action figure remains in its box beneath a photo from his basic training graduation day. A white mat behind the photo is now signed by fellow Air Force members who knew him after.David “Max” Walker II of Spring Hill died a year ago in his dorm at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, but the items he left and those his family received in the months since his passing have allowed his parents and siblings to keep him close.Now, the family plans to dust the Jeep off and honor Max’s memory with a memorial ride from Columbia to Spring Hill on Saturday.“In your heart, you’re trying to do something. You want to make him proud,” Max’s mother, Sarah Oliver, said.Anyone can participate in the ride, which will begin at 2 p.m. at Harley Davidson of Columbia, 1616 Harley Davidson Blvd., and end at Dolan’s Deli and Bar in Spring Hill, 3525 Kedron Road.Max’s sister, Temperance Jones, will lead the line of cars, motorcycles and other vehicles as a way to emulate motorcycle brigades that lead military funeral processions, Oliver said.“She wants to lead in his Jeep and kind of let him take us all safely,” Oliver said.Max’s parents could tell he would join the military from a young age. As a child, he played with GI Joes and Power Rangers — always the red one. He told his parents that’s what he wanted to be when he grew up.After his older brother, Aaron Walker, joined the Air Force in 2006, Max’s mind was even more set, Oliver said.“A lot of people say they went in because of 9/11 or something like that,” Oliver said. “(My children) always say, ‘We just want to do something.’”Max left for basic training in October 2010, graduated at the end of the year and moved to the Oklahoma base at the start of 2011, where he was ranked as an airman first class.Oliver said she talked to her son twice a week on the phone and almost every day through text messages while he was at the base. Max told her about his plans for the weekend, the girlfriends he had — or wanted to have — and his job as an air mechanic.“He was really good at tearing things up. But he could put them back together,” Oliver said. “He had to be perfect for that job.”Oliver said she learned more about her son’s job after his death when she received boxes of notes and paperwork from his dorm, which were delivered a few months after she received word about his passing.That night was strange, Oliver said, recalling the visit she received from three Air Force casualty assistance representatives on July 31, 2012.The representatives had gone to her former home address first, where Max had grown up and Jones still lives. They asked for Max’s father, David Maxwell Walker Sr., who was running an errand, Jones said. When he returned shortly after 8:30 p.m., he stood in the driveway as the representatives told him of his son’s passing.“I remember seeing my dad’s face. His eyes were red,” Jones said. “I remember walking outside and looking at them, like I knew something was wrong. They said his name and that he’s passed away. My dad grabbed my daughter (from me), and I just fell into my husband.”Jones said she and her husband drove to Columbia, where her mother was working, with the representatives to be there when she heard the news. The drive took 20 minutes, and Jones had her husband bring her mother outside so they could tell her in private.“I just started screaming,” Oliver said of once she was outside. “It took several minutes for them to get me to listen because I kept telling them to shut up — this isn’t funny.”Oliver said the three representatives were from a different base than where her son was located and couldn’t give her details of his death. Since then, investigators have told her the case is still being reviewed.Once the event this weekend is over, Oliver said she plans to dig through the boxes she’s received from her son’s dorm to learn more about his death. The mission will keep her busy, since she’ll no longer have the ride to plan.“We were still dealing with the emotions of everything. We still have our hard days,” Oliver said. “When we started planning this, we said we’ve got to get on it. It’s helped a lot.”Ride participants are expected to reach Dolan’s at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, where a silent auction will take place from 11 a.m. to about 5:45 p.m. Music will follow at 6 p.m. All proceeds from the auction and a raffle will go to the Wounded Warrior Project.– See more at: http://m.columbiadailyherald.com/sections/news/local-news/family-plans-ride-memorialize-air-force-son.html#sthash.hJxRsHGM.dpuf Airman David Maxwell Walker II, age 20, and a resident of Spring Hill, Tennessee passed away July 31, 2012 at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.David’s remains will be transferred to the care of Heritage Funeral Home on Monday afternoon at the Nashville International Airport. His family will gather for the dignified transfer. The escorted procession will arrive at Heritage Funeral Home at approximately 5:30 PM on Monday, immediately followed by the official receiving ceremony. Airman Walker will lie in state in the Chapel of Heritage Funeral Home until the funeral services on Wednesday.Additional honors and respect will be provided by the Patriot Guard.Services honoring his life will be conducted at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, August 8 from the Chapel of Heritage Funeral Home. With full military honors provided by the United States Air Force, Airman Walker will be laid to rest in the Garden of Unity at Maury Memorial Gardens, next to the funeral home. The family will receive friends onTuesday, August 7 from 4:00 until 8:00 PM.David was born November 11, 1991 in Greenville, MS to David Maxwell Walker and Sarah Lyles Walker. He was a 2010 graduate of Spring Hill High School, and a member of the Spring Hill First Baptist Church.“It is well known that Max was a ‘momma’s baby,’” his mother recalls. “He would always tell me he was never too big to sit in my lap.” He was always kind-hearted and loving toward others. His respect for those around him was evident in his life.In his free time, Max enjoyed riding motorcycles and getting as muddy as he could, off-road. If there was something to tear up, Max would. He played paintball and computer games as well.In school, he was a member of the Spring Hill JROTC program. His JROTC Commanding Officer recounted his time with Walker when they began working together in 2008. “Cadet Walker was part of the program from its inception. During those years, I had the opportunity to observe numerous aspects of his leadership, teamwork, and mission accomplishments,” recounted CSM Stephen Williams. “He soon rose through the ranks to Staff Sergeant in the program and was recognized for his outstanding performance by receiving numerous awards and ribbons.”– See more at: http://m.columbiadailyherald.com/sections/obituaries/david-maxwell-walker-ii.html-0#sthash.gQXtLCR1.dpuf Walker’s Air Force recruiter in Columbia, Tech Sgt. Stephanie Mills, remembered him Wednesday as a “really good guy, very mild-mannered and respectful.“He was very smart, too, and played sports. He was a really good kid,” she said.Walker was in the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Program at Spring Hill High School.It had been his dream to serve his country, said a Columbia relative, Mitzi Mangrum.“He was a precious young man,” she said. “He always had a smile on his face.”Walker’s awards include the Outstanding Unit Award, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Air Force Training Ribbon. – Walker was assigned to the 552nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Tinker and worked as a crew chief on the E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System, or AWACS, aircraft. – See more at:http://m.columbiadailyherald.com/sections/news/local/sh-airman-died-dorm-air-force-base-confirms.html#sthash.RlwTFCFa.dpuf– See more at: http://m.columbiadailyherald.com/sections/news/local/airman-sh-dead-family-says.html#sthash.bSqk2e8Z.dpuf Airman’s body returns homeBy KELLY QUIMBYPeople, vehicles and flags lined two major highways in Maury County Monday in a show of support for the family of 20-year-old Airman David Maxwell Walker, who died in his dorm at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma last month.The Air Force has not yet released the cause of Walker’s July 31 death.The people lining the route from Nashville International Airport to Columbia’s Heritage Funeral Home said they were there to honor the service he gave his country.Amy Claybourne, a Columbia resident and friend of Walker’s family said she frequently has been on the side of the road during military service processions. She said she stood in the bitter cold during the procession for Lance Cpl. Andrew Carpenter — who died serving in Afghanistan last February — and she stood with flag in hand in the afternoon heat this week, to show the family they and their son are loved.“That somebody was willing to put their life on the line for my freedom, I didn’t choose that route,” Claybourne said. “This is the least I can do for them, and it’s never enough. It’s still not going to make it any easier. I’m here because it’s something to give the family to be proud of — even in such a dark time.”Mt. Pleasant resident Donna Young brought her children to the driveway of Heritage Funeral Home to teach them respect for those in military service. Her brother graduated with Walker and played football with him in Spring Hill.Her mother, Yvonne Butler, watched her son walk across the stage at the same graduation ceremony when Walker received his diploma. The scene outside the funeral home was especially devastating to her, because Butler said it could easily have been her own son.When the procession arrived at the funeral home at about 6 p.m. — led by Tennessee Highway Patrolmen, Columbia Police officers and Maury County Sheriff’s deputies and followed by several members of the Patriot Guard — dozens of local residents had lined Bear Creek Pike to pay their respects.Cheryl and Gary Kaiser, members of the Maury County Christian Motorcyclists Association, said they were there to show their support for the serviceman. It was enough to Cheryl Kaiser that he put on the uniform.“To me, this is what it means to be an American,” she said. “If they’re willing to pick up a rifle and stand in front of me, I should be willing to stand behind them.” — with Sarah Walker Oliver.
“My son’s name is Bradley Shane Uht.. He was in the Air Force. A1C Uht was stationed in Minot, North Dakota. He loved fishing, auto mobile body work, paintball, and hanging with his buddies. He grew up in Ottawa, Kansas and was a 2012 graduate of Ottawa High School. He was also an Eagle Scout. He will always be in our hearts. He has three brothers, two of which are in the Navy. Thank you for what you do to keep our children’s memories alive. He touched so many lives for his short time with us.” Shared by his mother, Juana#22toomany #OurHeroes are #NeverForgotten
Brian was a true proud American. He had served a month shy of nine years in the U.S. Air Force. He also has served two tours in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. His ultimate dream and goal was to become a special agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. With Inspirations of his best friends and brothers, he accomplished his dream in 2014. During Brian’s life, he married his soul mate in 2010 and had a beautiful daughter later that year. His dedication and loyalty to his family was always top notch.TSgt Brian Theobald lost his battle with PTS on July 21, 2015. He was 27 years old. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/10/23/running-for-their-lives-retired-navy-man-does-marathons-to-honor-fallen-heroes.html Running for their lives: Retired Navy man does marathons to honor fallen heroesJessica Theobald and her parents left their home in the early morning hours to drive from Pittsburgh to Baltimore to watch as Sid Busch, a man they’d never met, run a marathon.But it was no ordinary marathon for either Busch or the Theobalds. Busch, a retired Navy senior chief petty officer, has completed hundreds of marathons and half-marathons as a way to honor fallen service members.“It means so much to me and to our entire family what Sid is doing. He is such an inspiration to us and to so many other families,” said Jessica Theobald said of Busch, who was running in his 200th marathon to honor her brother, Air Force TSGT Brian Theobald. Brian, an Iraq veteran, took his life in July after battling post-traumatic stress disorder.“My goal is always to get publicity for these young men and am always embarrassed that the attention is given to me. People respond so well to what I am doing and that is very humbling.”– Sid Busch, retired Senior Chief Petty Officer, U.S. NavyTheobald, who works as a nurse in Pittsburgh, acknowledges she knew very little about PTSD until it claimed her brother, and believes a stigma remains both inside and outside of the military. The importance of what Sid is doing, she adds, is that he is drawing attention to private organizations and charities, such as 22 Too Many, which raise awareness about PTS and provide invaluable service to members of the military.According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, about 11-20 out of every 100 veterans (or between 11-20 percent) who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have PTS. By comparison, about seven percent of the general population will have PTS at some point in their lives.Navy veteran Sid Busch runs marathons to honor fallen service members.Over the last decade, Busch, 69, and from Goose Creek, S.C., has become a fixture in the running community as he competes in most of his marathons and half-marathons carrying a large American flag and a picture of a fallen service member pinned to his back.He often jokes that his slow pace ensures participants can read details of the American hero for whom he is running.“When I go north and drive through Fayetteville, North Carolina, I always hear about a young man who has committed suicide. Not enough is being done for these kids. We send them to fight and then we expect them to be normal or to keep it inside. We have to do more,” Busch told Foxnews.com.The 69-year-old runner recently completed his 200th race.Busch was to complete marathon No. 200 last month in Dayton, Ohio, at the Air Force Marathon, but failed to miss the Mile 21 cut-off time. He was not disappointed that he did not reach the 200-race milestone, but that he had let the Theobald family down.Jessica recalls the phone call they received after the race.“We told him how wrong he was [to think he disappointed them]. He has been such an inspiration to us and to so many others,” said Theobald, who believes it was more fitting that Busch did it in Maryland where she has family and where they could make it to the race to watch him.Most families are not present at the races Busch runs, so he sends his finisher’s medal and T-shirt to them or takes it himself to Arlington National Cemetery to place on the fallen soldier’s gravestone.Following Saturday’s marathon finish, which Busch also dedicated to the memory of Marine Cpl. Bradley Arms, Theobald’s father presented Busch with his medal after the Navy veteran. More than 30 people, including the Theobald’s, had waited at the finish.As he made his way through the hilly 26.2 course, it became evident that Busch’s actions over the last decade have impacted more than the families of the fallen soldiers.“We would do anything for Sid. What he does is so inspiring and is not just a great tribute to the fallen soldiers, but to everybody who serves or has served in the armed forces who are doing the yeoman’s work,” said Lee Corrigan of Corrigan Sports, which runs the marketing end of the Baltimore Marathon.Busch is clearly uncomfortable with the attention he receives.“My goal is always to get publicity for these young men and am always embarrassed that the attention is given to me. People respond so well to what I am doing and that is very humbling,” he told Foxnews.com.He was escorted throughout the entire course by four relay teams comprised of six active and retired military groups and one team made up of firefighters. Several of the team members decided to remain with Busch for the whole race. When a police motorcycle escort joined Busch at Mile 22, he initially thought it was to take him off the course because he was the last runner. He was told by one of the police officers – all of whom were off-duty at the time – that they were there to escort him home.He admitted that the experience was incredibly humbling and was especially touched by the police helicopter which flew overhead shouting encouragement over its loudspeaker.“I am not a man who often is at a loss for words, but I am at a loss for words,” conceded Busch after finishing the race in more than seven hours.Busch began running marathons in 2001 and completed six marathons with his cousin, who would be killed later that same year in the World Trade Center terror attack.“I wanted to do something to remember him, so I ran all six marathons in his honor,” says Busch, who adds that running to honor others is the least he can do to serve his nation.“I have the easy part. What keeps me going is that it gets me so angry that the average person knows the Kardashians or someone from Hollywood, but they have no idea who these kids are. It is unacceptable. We have kids joining the military at a time when it is not safe, but they think enough of this country to go and fight and die,” says Busch.—————————————————————In memory of TSgt Brian Theobald, formerly of Castle Shannon, currently stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, on Tuesday, July 21, 2015. Born May 27, 1988, the son of William Sr., & Regina (Canale) Theobald. Husband of Lyndsey. Beloved father of Anberlynn, age 5. Loving brother of William Jr., and Jessica Theobald. Many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, especially all of his current military brothers and sisters still actively serving. Brian served 9 years with the U.S. Air Force having completed two tours in Iraq and most recently was a Special Agent with the USAF Office of Special Investigations.#22toomany #Ourheroes are #NeverForgotten
“My Cousin David took his own life. A few nights ago, he became one of the 22 US veterans that commit suicide daily. I know it was not always this way but it is this way now. This happens 22 times a day-people feel like I do starting 22 times a day. He was either the first or the last of the day. He said goodbye on the last day of May in the last hour in his time zone. The outcry of support was overwhelming. People know. This happens too much. He knew it happened too much. David became medically disabled. He had PTSD and had also contracted Lyme disease during his many years in service. When he returned from service, work within his community and with his fellow veterans became his service. Many also remember him from the video below. He fought for the rights of those four legged soldiers. Now all the two legged ones need to stand up for him. Did this have to be? I don’t think so. To know how to help veterans overcome suicide, one only needs to know what a veteran who overcame suicide knew. Andrew Jones with The Ripple Effect – Helping Veterans and Families HEAL explained how he did just that. He found words in that dark place that kept him from taking his own life – familiar words “Hold your position.” Hold your position, call for support. That is what a soldier does when he is in trouble. David didn’t have these words in that dark place. All military personnel should be given these words upon their exit into civilian life. If David had orders in respect to his own life, he would have followed them. David, if I could have said anything to you on that last hour in May it would have been hold your position and call for support. And if I can say anything to the 22 that are starting to die today it is just that: HOLD YOUR POSITION. Why did you not have these words David Michael Simpson? I am so sorry. I cannot stop thinking them now. Hold your position. Call for support. There are so many people, so many mothers, so many fathers and brothers, wives, husbands…children who wish that their loved one had received this order. But instead these soldiers just come back and die on American soil from unseen injuries they received in battle. PTSD is not a permanent thought process and suicide is not a consistent thought. They need an order to follow when they think these thoughts. Let’s give it to them. I ask for your help. All of you. Every single one of you reading this.To the 22 veterans today who will face this darkness alone: Hold your position, call for support. You are an American life. It is the duty of the government and its military to protect you. If you are a threat to your own life, hold your position and call for support.But I cannot say “that is an order”. I am a civilian surrounded by civilians who are watching them all die. So this is just a Facebook post.They need an order to pull them back from the chaos. So give it to them.David, support was on its way. You just had to hold your position.” Obituary for David Michael SimpsonDavid Michael Simpson, 35Mulberry- David Michael Simpson of Mulberry, Florida passed away Thursday June 1, 2017 at his home. He was born July 12, 1981 in Phoenix, Arizona to Kevin Simpson and Marilyn (Simpson) Coburn. After high school, he enlisted in the Air Force and remained active duty for 13 years. He was security forces, until the last seven years, in which he was a K9 handler. His first duty station was Kunsan AFB in South Korea and then he was stationed at Yokota AFB in Japan. He met Erin (Dooley) Simpson in Japan and soon were married. They were stationed next in Iceland at Keflavik Navy Base, where his first daughter Alexandra was born. Next duty station was Las Vegas, when he cross trained into the K9 world and immediately got orders to Spangdahlem AFB, Germany. While in Germany, Erin gave birth to his second daughter, Madison. They traveled extensively throughout Europe and he did many missions with his MWD Robson. They protected Air Force One, the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, and many others. They deployed to Iraq and went on many missions with various agencies on various missions. Unfortunately, while in Germany, he contracted Lyme Disease and suffered from joint and nerve pain continually, which only got worse with time. He also suffered from PTSD from his time in Iraq. Between the PTSD and Lyme Disease, he also suffered from depression. David Simpson was medically retired from the military in 2012 and relocated to Mulberry, Florida. Erin gave birth to his son, Elijah in the U.S. In 2013 he was able to adopt his MWD Robson, after Robson was retired, and they lived retired life together. After his retirement, he and Robson were heavily involved in the community supporting veterans and military working dog charities benefitting many people. He has a plaque at the War Dog Memorial in Tampa and you may see his picture hanging up in various establishments around Lakeland. David was an amazing man, awesome father and son, and a great husband. Although he battled many things, he will be remembered as an amazing man who would do anything for anybody, anytime a need arose.He is survived by his wife Erin, daughters Alexandra and Madison, and son Elijah. Brothers Brandon and Zachary. Parents Marilyn and Kevin.
“Cody started his life out with an uphill battle. He was born eight weeks premature and showed from the very beginning of his life that he was a fighter. He was so small and fragile and I did nothing more in life than to protect him. I had no idea what greatness lie ahead for Cody. He was our first born child of three children and our only son. He had these piercing blue eyes and bright blonde hair while growing up. He certainly knew how to keep smiles on the faces of those around him. He was a happy child for sure and made others laugh by his goofiness like; when he would throw the guts of the pumpkins out onto the dogs while we were helping him carve his pumpkin. At an early age though Cody showed such compassion for others and loved unconditionally. Cody, at the age of 10 had always wanted to be a part of something greater in life. His compassion and willingness to serve others led him in the direction of wanting to serve in the United States Air Force. During his high school career he participated in the JROTC program and excelled in it. He knew at that point that he wanted to join the military and went into an early enlistment program at the age of 17. He worked hard at school, had a part time job throughout high school, was liked well by all and showed far more compassion for others in life than most adults do. He inspired and encouraged those around him to become better people and to follow their dreams in life no matter how big or small. Cody may may have had a short time here to grace this earth but made an impact on those who were placed in his path. His hard work and dedication paid off and he completed and graduated high school an entire year early to pursue his dream of becoming an airman. Cody deployed July 5, 2011 for basic training to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. He completed boot camp and technical school in the field of security forces. Upon technical school graduation he came home on leave to spend time with his family and friends. December 31, 2011 Cody came home from being out and said he had received a call from his commander and had to go back to his base earlier than expected and had to leave the next day. I was so upset that night as I was not ready for him to go back. I gave my son his last hug on January 1, 2012 before he left to leave to drive back to Texas. Unfortunately, on the morning of January 2, 2012, my son took his own life at the age of 18. After an investigation into my son’s suicide, we found that he had gotten himself into some minor in legal trouble unbeknownst to us. Cody had never been in trouble before this incident and we know that the last phone call to my son was from his commander within minutes before my son completed suicide. No drugs or alcohol played a part in my son’s death and there were no warnings before his suicide. It is believed that Cody took his life out of fear of possibly losing his career in the military. It should have been the military’s first and foremost responsibility for Cody to make it back to Lackland Air Force Base safely. Hearing the words that our son was found after he had been missing for 2 days but that he had taken his own life brought me literally to my knees. My breath was taken from me and I could not even begin to comprehend the reality. My son loved us all so very much, how could he do this to us? Why? Those questions haunted me for at least a year into my grief journey, along with a million others. I felt like I must have failed my child in order for this to have happened. I was naïve to suicide, thinking that things like this don’t happen to families like ours. I was uneducated about suicide before my son’s death and even more so about the high rate of suicide among the military. In 2012 alone, over 349 soldiers took their own lives, which averages to one every 25 hours; a staggering epidemic that has been plaguing our military for the past several years. Twenty-two veterans a day take their own lives as well. Immediately after my sons suicide, I felt very alone on my journey. Just trying to function day to day proved to be quite difficult, as all I could concentrate on was my last moments with my son and the last moments that we shared as a family of five. My family dynamics were forever changed. I no longer had a living son and that was a very hard thing to come to terms with. I went through denial for quite a while, as it was easier to pretend that Cody was away at the base. I tried to stuff down my emotions on a daily basis, only to have a complete meltdowns. I couldn’t concentrate even on a simple task or conversation. Life has become almost unbearable to live. It was hard to be the wife and mother to my two daughters, as my grief consumed my whole being. About four months after my sons death, I was on a mission to find someone who had gone through a similar situation as mine. I was desperate to find a connection with others who had experienced a military suicide. That is when I found TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.) TAPS is a not-for-profit organization that was founded by Bonnie Carroll in 1994, after she had lost her husband in a military plane crash in Alaska in 1992. It is a peer-based support system that provides 24/7 emotional grief support and resources for anyone who has lost a loved one in the military regardless of relationship or manner of death, including suicide. TAPS was where I could openly express my emotions and love for Cody and the immense grief I was feeling. It is also where I received the emotional support, love and understanding of my loss. TAPS offers seminars, good grief camps for children and retreats. My husband and I have been able to attend two seminars, one was specifically for suicide, and my daughters were able to attend the good grief camp. These seminars are as helpful, as they hold many different workshops pertaining to your grief and journey. Since I came to Taps in May 2012, I have been able to not only receive help for myself in my grief journey, but also have been able to provide emotional support and understanding of the newly bereaved as well. I recently completed the training in November 2013 to become a peer mentor for TAPS. It is an honor to be able to give back what has been given to my family and me. I also have done a national radio interview on military suicides as well to help bring awareness to this subject back in December 2012. Cody’s picture has also adorned the “Love Never Dies” quilt the past two years, which is used throughout the state of Tennessee in awareness and prevention programs for suicide. It has now been a little over two years since Cody took his life and I have learned that the pain of losing him to suicide will always be there but the pain changes as the time passes. I am able to look forward in my future with my daughters and husband and I hold on to hope. I am not the same person I was prior to Cody’s death and I used to long for the woman I used to be, but I have learned to accept who I have now become. I have found joy in my life again and am grateful for all of the small moments I have with my family. We are all survivors on our own separate journey. My life mission is to continue keeping his memory alive, bring awareness to others of suicide and hope to those of us who are living through the loss I will miss him forever and love him for always.” Written by Peggy Scallorn. From the book “Faces of Suicide.”
In Memory ofSSgt Courtney Jo Rush, USAF, 11/15/84 – 1/3/12 “SSgt Courtney Jo Rush, USAF, was my only daughter. I miss her so much. My life has been forever changed, but I try every day to focus on something positive. God has a plan. I believe that. Courtney’s death isn’t the “norm” when it comes to military suicide, or any suicide from what I’ve read. She was a smaller percent who showed no signs of PTSD. Courtney was a beautiful, successful, happy, disciplined, funny, head strong, stubborn, and motivated person.” – Gail Rush Courtney was a crew chief for C-130’s and C-17’s. On her last deployment in Qatar, she was involved in assisting with the transport of the caskets of fallen veterans, an emotionally moving and high honor duty that she took very seriously. Courtney and her mother, Gail, ran races together. Their last run was “Run the Runway” at Joint Base Charleston. Gail has organized a 5k in Courtney’s memory and in memory of all veterans lost to suicide.
SMSGT Jeffery Wayne Olmstead, age 50, was born in Dallas, Texas, on September, 1967. Jeffery entered the kingdom of heaven on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 in Los Lunas, NM.He suffered silently from the invisible wounds of war. SMSGT Olmstead served his country in the United States Air Force for 22 years until his retirement on October, 2010. While he served his country, he met the love of his life, Rosita Cano, while she was also serving in the United States Air Force. Jeffery served multiple tours of duty in Desert Storm, Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan, earning him multiple decorations, medals, Badges, Citations, Campaign Ribbons and honors. After his retirement, Jeffery went to work for the Air Force Research Labs at Kirtland Air Force Base. His greatest accomplishments were the days that he coached his daughter’s swim, basketball & soccer teams in Alaska and Los Lunas, as well as his son’s basketball, baseball and soccer teams in Los Lunas. Jeffery was the BIGGEST most dedicated Dallas Cowboys fan you ever met. He and his wife were married 25 years. He loved his Dallas Cowboys, but most of all, his six children and seven grandchildren. Places he called home: Alaska, Washington State, Nebraska (was stationed at Offutt AFB) and Dallas, Texas Final rest: San Clemente Catholic Cemetery in Los Lunas, New Mexico#22TooMany #OurHeroes are #NeverForgotten
Derek Martin, 32, passed away on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 in Lincoln, California. Derek was born in Wellington, Kansas on July 16, 1987. He is a graduate of Wellington High School, class of 2005. Derek excelled at academics, technology, and sports, to included baseball, basketball, and his passion—golf. He was on the high school golf team and worked at the golf course. As a child, Derek was very silly, energetic, and extremely outgoing; he would make friends on vacation that may be decades older than him. He will be remembered by childhood friends as “D-Money,” the guy who loved playing poker and had an infectious laugh. Derek knew from a young age that he wanted to join the military. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2006. Upon graduating from Basic Military Training at Lackland AFB, Texas, he was assigned to MacDill AFB, Florida as part of the 6th Security Forces Squadron. His marksmanship was so impressive that he received an invitation to go to sniper school, to which he declined to stay with his family. Derek enjoyed cracking jokes at work and occasionally pulling over the cute girl going 2mph over the speed limit just to catch a glimpse of her. Derek loved his job and was quick to volunteer for deployments. He proudly served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times. Derek took pride in his job and was able to gather vital intelligence of adversary movement while still helping the local populace. In fact, his efforts even touched the hearts of the band Metallica to where they provided him with items to donate to these children. Derek was happiest being with his military brothers and sisters. He was a decorated war veteran and recipient of the prestigious Purple Heart. Derek married Renee in Tampa, FL on September 14, 2011, who was also active duty. Derek moved from Clearwater Beach to Lakeland, FL, separated from the military in 2012, and went to Professional Golfers Career College in Orlando, FL, specializing in an associate’s degree in pro golf management, a dream he had long aspired to accomplish. Derek graduated top of his class in 2013, holds the course record with a 59, and has qualified for numerous tournaments. In 2013, the young family moved to Visalia, California upon learning Renee would become a Recruiter. Derek worked hard as an assistant golf professional at Valley Oaks Golf Course, and most recently, at Lincoln Hills Golf Club; the family moved to Lincoln, CA a few years ago. Additionally, Derek was in his final semester of school; he would graduate this spring with his bachelor’s degree in business administration. Due to Derek’s love for the military and helping others, Derek partnered with the Wounded Warrior Project and spent a great deal of time talking about his military experiences with local veterans, hoping that sharing his stories would help others. Derek always believed there were others that needed help more than himself. In conjunction with one of his Air Force brothers, who like Derek suffered from PTSD, he co-founded the nonprofit, Rimpact Foundation, in 2014. Rimpact stood for “Reaper Impact”, partly named after the namesake of the Security Force moniker, the Reaper. He always believed sports, especially golf, was a way to ease the pain people felt, especially those with PTSD and TBI ailments. Rimpact’s mission was to bring wounded warriors together around the game of golf, and Derek was key in acquiring donations for equipment, rounds of golf, and lessons. Derek got such joy volunteering his time to teach golf lessons outside of the organization and work, as well as being a regular volunteer at his children’s elementary school. Derek was an avid Kansas City Chiefs fan and a loyal fan to his favorite band, Metallica. He enjoyed running, having a good beer, being in the snow, cooking, playing video games, talking to people, and being silly with his kids. Derek coached his son’s youth football, basketball, and baseball teams. The kids loved Derek’s silliness and sense of humor. Derek truly was a big kid at heart and enjoyed being home with his wife and kids. A Celebration of Life with full military honors will be held in Lincoln, CA at a place and time to be determined. All are invited to come and share a moment with Derek for this occasion. A Celebration of Life with an Honor Guard compliment will be held at Kansas Veteran’s Cemetery in Winfield, KS, shortly upon his return to his birthplace, time to be determined. In lieu of flowers, a GoFundMe page is available at https://www.gofundme.com/ (search: Derek Scott Martin), as well as a Trust Fund, to help Derek’s three children with their future. “My beloved Derek, my only son, my ‘middle’ kid. You lived a lot of life in your short time on earth. You never hesitated to help others, and touched the lives of so many. More than you probably ever realized. You gave it your all in everything you did, and made us all so very proud. We lost you 23 days ago, and the pain is still very raw and at times unbearable. There are so many wonderful memories of you that I will always cherish, and hold close to my heart. You were truly one of a kind, and not a day will ever pass that I won’t think of you and miss you. Your sense of humor, your infectious laugh, your silliness, and so many other wonderful qualities. I’ve got to hold onto to those good & fun memories. I find comfort knowing you’re finally at peace. God has another task for you, “a mission”. I believe that is to watch over us all, and remain with us always. I’ll love and will miss you forever” ~ Mom (Paula, written April 9, 2020) Deployments: Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Kandahar, Afghanistan Places he called home: California, Kansas, Florida#22TooMany #OurHeroes are #NeverForgotten
Brandon (of Sanford, NC) was state champ wrestler in high school. He joined the Air Force and was active duty for 9 years as an A10 mechanic. He had several deployments, including Iraq. After active duty he served in the Air National Guard, working in HVAC. He loved his unit and his commanders. Some of the hobbies Brandon loved were sky diving, jet skiing and going to the beach. He always left a smile on everyone’s face that knew him. He is deeply missed by all his family, friends and co-workers.
USAF 802nd Security Forces SquadronLackland AFB from his mom:“My son, Cody, was loved by all who knew him; he never met a stranger. Cody always had a desire to serve in the military since he was little; he was involved all 4 years of High school in the ROTC program, where his Senior year made the highest rank as Captain. Upon graduating high school he joined the USAF and served from 2010-2013. Cody deployed to Kuwait in 2011. Cody loved spending time with family and friends. I will never understand why this happened but will forever keep his memory alive and try to help other families cope with the loss of a child. I have joined TAPS and they have helped me understand more about military suicides, I hope one day the number will be 0 and not 22+.
Born in Riverside, CA. “From a very young age it was obvious that Gary was going to be in the military. He carried out chores to the letter, nothing less. A prankster in junior high, a great student in high school. Even though he played very little, it meant the world to him just to be on the football team. During the summer of 2002, just after graduation Gary spent days at a time gaming with his friends. We even found him asleep at his computer with the air conditioner on, him in his letterman’s jacket. Gary enjoyed cooking very much. Along with the shooting range, he used cooking as his outlet. We never worried about Gary joining the Air Force, we knew that if someone said “duck” he would do just that and not question it. Gary fell deeply in love with a woman who couldn’t be a military wife and that caused a lot of problems in their marriage. He worked hard to find an answer, find another job that would provide. He noted that 2012 was the hardest year of his life. Losing the job he loved and the woman he loved he couldn’t see another way. 9 days after leaving the Air Force and having a fight with his wife he left us a note and took his life. We have been devastated with the loss. We talked to him daily but he didn’t open to the problems. We beg anyone else going through this to get help, we know others are out there. Please don’t let another parent bury their child!” shared by his mom
Waynetta Leeann Frost was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 27, 1979.She graduated from Destrehan High School with a full academic and tennis scholarship to Dillard University. She studied film and played tennis until she fulfilled her call for duty! Waynetta was a U. S. Air Force Veteran. Her rank was A1C Basic Military Training, L3ABR3P031 002, Security Apprentice Ground Combat Skills. While serving, Waynetta was recipient of the Air Force Achievement Medal for Outstanding Achievement March – June 2002. As a Security Forces Journeyman, she served with the 321st Expeditionary SF Squadron, Masirah Island Air Base, Oman, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Off duty, she volunteered her time to assist with the development and fundraiser to build a playground for the local Omani children. She served in the USAF for six years. Once we moved to Florida, she study Computer Programming and Analysis at Pensacola State College. She received her degree and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She was a member of Alpha Beta Gamma, the National Honor Society for Business Majors. Waynetta and I legally married on October 9th, 2008 in San Francisco. We were married for 5 years before she lost her battle with PTSD. She died as a result of a horrible, service related PTSD episode on August 4, 2013 at The Veterans Memorial Park near where we lived in Pace, FL. Waynetta was an amazing and loving wife and I miss her dearly. She gave back to her community and always reached out a helping hand to those in need.#OurHeroes are #Neverforgotten#22toomany
Joseph was born in Elkins Park, PA but was raised in Philadelphia. He came from a long line of military personnel and made the decision to join the USAF right out of high school at the age of 19 in Marshfield, MA, immediately signing his name for a full 20 year service. But before choosing to serve our country, he enjoyed sports such as baseball (Phillies), football (Eagles), hockey (Flyers) and even wrestling; he enjoyed the normal teenage boy activities. Joseph’s to-do in the USAF was to man the control tower and to also train local military how to do the same. When Joseph turned 23, he became a father to a beautiful daughter. But that happiness was short lived as he was to ship out not long after. While he was deployed to the Middle East, a mortar round hit 50 feet from the control tower, which shook him severely. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the worst of it; while he was deployed to Balad, he witnessed many horrifying sights such as the transfer of fellow military personnel who were KIA. But despite everything he was subjected to, Joe remained in good spirits. As years went by Joseph remained a carefree, loving man. His smile, the very same smile that can be seen in his 2nd daughter, could light up any room, and no matter if you knew him your entire life or just for a fleeting moment, you remembered him. Joseph traveled to many places, he got to see the world. He lived life how he wanted, but always remembered where he came from. He served honorably for 18.5 years before retiring. Unfortunately, after he retired, he chose not to keep in contact with his family. It was obvious he suffered from PTSD, and as the phone calls and text messages dwindled down to almost nothing, Joseph became a nomad. He spent quite a good time down in South America before returning to the United States. Years went by with no phone calls or text messages then unfortunately on March 27th, 2020 Joseph decided to end his life. His suicide was put under investigation by local authorities, and due to unfortunate complications between his family and current wife, along with COVID-19, Joseph’s remains were unable to be transferred home to Pennsylvania for him to be honored at a local veteran’s cemetery. However, despite the complications that arose quickly after his death, Joseph’s mother took to Facebook to begin fundraising money for non-profit organizations that assist veterans and their families. Joseph’s suicide is not just another suicide, his death was due to pain that he unfortunately could no longer battle against. But it is not stopping his family from fighting for the absolute truth, and as they do, they will continue to also fight for other families and veterans alike. Joseph’s mother said. “The best thing that anyone can do for me and for my family during this time is to donate – just get involved”. Joseph’s memory will live on through the hearts of those who love him. He will never be forgotten. Deployments: Kabul, Afghanistan, Balad, IraqPlaces he called home: Pennsylvania & MassachusettsName and location of final resting place: Morgantown, WV#22toomany #OurHeroes are #NeverForgotten
Robert Doran “Bob” served proudly in the United States Air Force. He worked in airplane maintenance and also was a teacher. He served at Luke AFB in Arizona. Sadly, Bob lost his son, SSG David Doran in January of 2009 to the hidden wounds of war – PTSD. In this picture, he is holding a picture of them both – father and son, taken years ago. Tragically, Bob also lost his inner battle in October 2019. Both Bob and David are buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Phoenix. Bob’s picture and story will remain in the “Our Heroes – USAF” album and David’s picture and story is in the “Our Heroes – US Army” album. Father and son – together forever.
Daniel J. “Clyde” Cruz Passed away April 26th, 2016 at the age of 37. “Dan was very active in high school. He played soccer, served on Student Council, active in the National Junior Honor Society and had graduated in the top 5% of his class. He knew he had to work extremely hard in order to get a congressional nomination into the U.S. Air Force Military Academy in which he succeeded. He then graduated from the academy with a Degree in Engineering and became a 2nd Lieutenant. Ever since Dan was little, he wanted to be a military pilot, and serving in the Air Force enabled him to pursue his dreams. His exceptional skills as a pilot would make him specially selected to fly the A-10 Thunderbolt II, aka “Warthog”. His dream had finally come true. Dan was deployed 3 times to Afghanistan. On his first deployment, he was sent in on foot with the Army as a Battalion Air Liaison Officer where he received the Bronze Star. His second deployment made history. Dan (known to airmen as “Clyde”, his call sign), and his squadron, the 354th fighter squadron “Bulldogs” flew over 1,700 combat missions totaling more than 6,000 combat hours. It was on his third deployment that he received the Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat Valor (one of the Air Force’s highest honors) for heroism. On August 21, 2007, Captain Cruz’s airmanship and courage displayed under hazardous conditions culminated in an extremely successful Operation ENDURING FREEDOM mission. It was said his heart was so big that he was haunted by the horrors of war and could never quite come to terms with it. In April of 2016, Dan passed away at his home from complications of seizures and PTSD. He was buried with full military honors including the Missing Man Formation fly by. Hundreds of loved ones lined up to say goodbye at both of his memorials. Dan will be remembered by many as a true American Hero who made history and saved countless lives by risking his own. His accomplishments have been documented in many news articles and a book is currently being written on his flying missions. For those close to him, Dan will be remembered for his infectious smile, laugh, sense of humor, and his crazy love for Superman and Chewbacca. It was said at one of his memorials that Daniel himself was Superman to a lot of people who would not be here today if it were not for him.” Shared by his sister, Mandy CITATION:“The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat “V” to Captain Daniel J. Cruz, United States Air Force, for heroism while participating in aerial flight as an HAWG-17 Flight Lead near Khowst, Afghanistan on 21 August 2007. On that date, Captain Cruz’s airmanship and courage displayed under hazardous conditions culminated in an extremely successful Operation ENDURING FREEDOM mission. While airborne, Captain Cruz was diverted to support a combined United States and Afghan National Army outpost that had been overrun by 40 anti-Coalition troops. Friendly forces were driven from their outpost and under attack from small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. They had already suffered 12 casualties and one fatality. With no Joint Terminal Attack Controller available, Captain Cruz was forced to use emergency close air support procedures, working directly with Chosin Six, the on-scene ground commander, while flying in mountainous terrain under constant small arms fire. Chosin Six informed the flight that they were pinned down by the enemy who was within 50 meters, and that all attacks would be inside “danger close” criteria. Captain Cruz marked the target with a 30 millimeter from low-angle deliveries and pressing as close as possible to the enemy in order to reduce the risk to friendly forces. Their formation killed five confirmed enemy combatants including a high-ranking Taliban commander, forcing them to break contact and retreat into the nearby mountains ending the battle. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Captain Cruz reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.” Hometown: Glendale, AZFinal Rest: United States Air Force Academy Cemetery Colorado Springs, CO Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat “V”https://valor.militarytimes.com/hero/42704 Missing Man Formation:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp4qVJshjjg&app=desktop Memorial Video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5s02Q1Ut5g&app=desktop #22toomany#OurHeroes are #NeverForgotten
FOY JAMATHAN COX, age 41, of Kendallville, died at home on Sunday, March 6, 2016. Jamathan was born in Fort Worth, Texas on April 11, 1974 to Foy Edwin Cox and Retha Arnelle (Russell) Cox. He graduated from Norman High School in Oklahoma and the College of the Air Force at Oklahoma State University. He was currently attending Indiana Wesleyan University. Jamathan retired from the United States Air Force after 13 tours of duty and 15 years of honorable service to America. Jamathan lived to serve. He was currently serving his fellow veterans in the Disabled Veteran Outreach Program with Work One in Fort Wayne. He was married to Jane Marie (McKenzie) Shepherd on June 24, 2006 at Grace Christian Church in Kendallville. Jamathan was a proud Eagle Scout and he loved the outdoors. He loved to go fishing, hunting, and camping, and he enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. He volunteered with various organizations including Miami County CASA. He was a member of the Kendallville Masonic Lodge #276, Kokomo VFW, Disabled American Veterans and he attended the Bunker Hill Baptist Church.
SSGT JUSTIN COCHRAN U.S. Air Force SSgt Justin Douglas Cochran, 35, of Sylva, N.C., U.S. Air Force, Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, passed away Dec. 24, 2016. He was born in Sylva, to Anita DeHart and Jeffery Cochran. Justin enjoyed riding motorcycles, playing softball, barbequing and, most of all, spending time with family and friends. He was always laughing and joking. He had a smile that would light up the room.Justin was preceded in death by his grandfather, Percival DeHart; father-in-law, Noel Jones; step-grandmother, Lenora Rogers; uncle, Larry DeHart; and his grandmother-in-law, Kathleen Derrick. Justin is survived by his wife, Crystal Jones Cochran; stepson, Stahle Wyatt; dog, Jenny; parents, Anita DeHart Britinall (Philip) of Bryson City, N.C.; Jeff (Donna) Cochran of Stecoah, N.C.; stepdad, James (Sherry) Rogers of Sylva; grandmothers, Floye DeHart of Bryson City and Helen Woodard of Alarka; uncle, Doug Cochran of Whittier, N.C.; his sisters, Heather Cochran, of Shelby, Angela Hauck, of Puyallup, Wash., and Haley Cochran, of Stecoah; uncle, Raymond (Kim) DeHart; aunt, Maxine (DL) Largent; special uncle, David Breedlove; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Diana Jones and Mike Siske, of Webster; sister-in-law, Kim Wright (Tim) of Bryson City; nieces and nephews, Carter Hauck of Puyallup, Blake (Kayla) Wright of Whittier, Paige Wright of Whittier, Emma Maney of Bryson City, and Zane Alexander Griffin; cousins, Joule Lowman, Jake DeHart, Kaylan Pierontoni and Christina Barker. Justin is also survived by many aunts, uncles, friends and extended family around the world. Places he considered home were North Carolina, Guam, Mississippi, and Las VegasHis place of final rest is Tabor Cemetery, Bryson City, NC#22TooMany #OurHeroes are #NeverForgotten
“From your bright sense of fashion, to your contagious energy and your zest for life, your laughter and love will be missed by anyone who experienced the pleasure of meeting you.” Picture on the bottom right: “This is from the orphanage in Kyrgyzstan that the USAF kind of adopted and protected. They were right next door to where Joe was stationed. Joe and his Co. knew they were struggling so they spent all of their liberty over there cooking, playing, and teaching them something OTHER than war. Those kids loved him!!” from Joe’s dad Joseph Christopher Buckley (August 12th, 1990 – January 7th, 2016) ended his battle with the inner demons he brought home from war. He was found earlier today, just outside of Greenville, Texas. He was dearly loved and will be sorely missed by all the lives he touched. This is all the info we have at present, and we will share more as it comes to light. We wish to remember the silly, goofy, hilarious young man who we knew and loved, and we ache with all who also loved him.I am sorry to say that he is the latest veteran to be failed by the country he put his life on the line for. He suffered from PTSD and was unable to get a handle on it. This is what happens when young people are combat trained, sent to warzones, and then given no support in their adjustment back to civilian life after multiple deployments. This young man, my brother, is one of 22 veterans a day who survive war but succumb to suicide. As a nation, we must do better. They deserve it. They’ve earned it.To everyone who shared the post about him being missing and sent up prayers and well wishes, thank you! “Dedicated to a compassionate leader, a witty comedian, a humble gentleman, a humanitarian, a patriot, a brother, and a dear friend to all.”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tu3IrD_IHik
“Joseph Buchanan was a brilliantly artistic, loving son with a gentle spirit and a heart as big as the state of Texas, which is where he was born. He had this way of always making you laugh at the weirdest of situations. And the dimples on his cheeks would show his smile even before he began to laugh. He was my first born son, my friend, a loving father, a compassionate soul and a valiant soldier. He served his country for six years in the the United States Air Force as a battle station manager. He loved his job and his country and served it well. He also was an honor guard soldier and served in many funerals for fallen soldiers. He took his life on April 17, 2010 after a long battle with PTSD and depression. He is gone but most certainly not forgotten.” shared by his mom
Air Force Captain Jamie Ann Brunette, born September 12, 1984, in Wisconsin. Jamie served our country in the Air Force for 11 years and eventually moved to Tampa, Florida. She was promoted to a Captain in 2014. She received an Air Mobility Command award for her outstanding work in overseeing contracts to provide security and infrastructure to multiple bases in Afghanistan. An avid athlete, she earned perfect scores on all of her Air Force fitness tests and placed first in more than twenty 5K runs on base. With a burning passion for physical fitness and an entrepreneurial spirit, she had recently purchased an Orange Theory Fitness franchise to pursue her dream. Jamie was smart, ambitious and unstoppable. The world was at her fingertips. Jamie Brunette was a daughter, a sister, a friend, a captain, an entrepreneur and an inspiration. She was full of life; a shining star in a world that can be so dark. She lit up every room she entered with her smile; it radiated from her heart to her face. Capt Jamie Ann Brunette lost her battle with PTS, February 9, 2015. She was 30 years old From Oak Creek, WisconsinStates she called home: Wisconsin and FloridaResting Place: Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell#22toomany #OurHeroes are #NeverForgotten
At age 24, an American Hero passed away Monday, April 18, 2011. He was born September 25, 1986, in Roseburg, OR to parents Raeann Rutledge & Steven Berg. He was raised in the Roseburg area until 1992, and then we lived in the Central Coast, CA area until ’99, he loved the beach. After that we lived in CO until he moved back home and graduated from Camas Valley High School in 2005. He came back to CO where he joined the United States Air Force at age 18. Rory was a highly decorated USAF Staff Sergeant. He was first stationed in Biloxi, MS where he received honors for dedicated assistance in humanitarian efforts during hurricane Katrina, Prior to coming to VAFB; he was stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB serving as acknowledged Combat Weather Forecaster. He earned several very significant awards during his 6 years of dedicated service including; the Air Force Achievement Medal, Airman Below the Zone, Airman of the Quarter, Forecaster of the Month, and ACC Airman of the Year 2009; receiving accolades for assisting Air Force One, being a part of the crew that rescued 3 US Soldiers from Columbian terrorists, and preventing over 4.6 billion dollars of Cocaine entering the United States. He moved to VAFB Feb ’10. “As a critical member of our unit, Rory was called upon to provide time-critical and extremely complex solar environment forecasts to tactical units around the world and to some of our nation’s most senior military leaders; and he did this very well. You should be proud of how Rory carried himself and how well he served his country.” J. Christopher Moss, Colonel, USAF Commander, 614th Air and Space Operations Center. “The Oath”I did not take the oath, but my sons didand they dreamed of doing so since they were kids.I raised them to have characters ofHonor, courage, service, and integrity,to love God, country, and family.As a Mom, I had to let go and seethem become the men and soldiersthey were meant to be.But it did not stop the sleepless nightsand the worried glances when the phone would ring,but when it was one one of them, oh how my heart would sing!Then one day I did get that call,“I’m sorry Ma’am, but your oldest son has taken that fall,he has given his life and answeredGod’s and duty’s call”.I shook my fist and asked God “Why”?What else could I do, but want to die?But I put on a brave faceand went to guide my soldier home to his final resting place..I was told over and over of his honorable service,of a job well donebut all I could remember was that little boy who was always having fun.It’s taken me awhile – a lot of heartbreak, tears, and griefbut I’ve found a place where I can finally breath.It is at home in my heart where he still residesIt’s where he’s always been and still lives beside.His brother is now in danger’s wayAnd all I can do is hope and praythat it is not with his heart, mind, or lifehe’ll have to pay.He serves with honor, courage, and bravery,with his angel brother there to guide the way.It is always this mother’s greatest fearto lose another son, to not have him near.I did not take the oath; “So help me God”but my sons did and so for as long as I shall liveI will do my best to never, ever keep that oath hid. Written by Rory’s mother 2015
Words from his mother:“Zack was amazing. At the age of 15 he was accepted to RMTS summer institute at the University of Denver to attend college level courses for intensive summer study. Zack was also invited to the Utah Awards Ceremony in recognition for his exceptional score on the ACT. Zack graduated from Itineris Early College High School in a curriculum for advanced students. His love for the Air Force began at age 6, he could tell you anything you would ever need or want to know about any plane or gun. He really wanted to fly. This love of the Air Force stayed with him throughout his years even knowing his eyesight wasn’t good enough to fly. He enlisted when he was 17. Throughout his Air Force years he received many awards including honor graduate at boot camp and the John Levitow award for being the honor graduate of his Airman Leadership School. He never led on what a huge honor that was.Growing up, he played all sports. The two he loved the most and stuck with was golfing and bowling. He was on several leagues and on the High School bowling team. He was a Seahawks fan through and through. He loved hunting with his buddies in South Dakota. His pride and joy was his son Aiden. He took his own life just before his 24th birthday. As his “mommy”, I will never understand this. “Charlie” is forever in my heart.”———-Staff Sergeant Zack Barton, USAF, passed away October 13, 2013 at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. Zack was born in Murray, Utah, October 29, 1989, to Gary and Ina Christine Barton, the second of three sons. Zack attended schools in West Jordan, and graduated from Itineris Early College High School in a curriculum for advanced students. An exceptionally bright and gifted student, Zack earned honors throughout his school years. At the age of fifteen, he was accepted to the RMTS Summer Institute at the University of Denver to attend college level courses for intensive summer study. Zack was also invited to the Utah Awards Ceremony in recognition for his exceptional score on the ACT. Zack always wanted to be in the Air Force. Upon graduating high school in 2008, he joined the Air Force. During his career, Zack was an honor graduate in basic training. Zack’s first assignment was to Malmstrom AFB in Great Falls, Montana. Following Malmstrom, he received orders to Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, where he served in various positions from Aircraft Parts Store Technician to Chief Inspector of Supply. Zack was the recipient of the John Levitow award for being the top graduate of his Airman Leadership School, served a tour in Qatar, earned a CCAF degree, and was second in his class graduating from a Manpower Training course in Mississippi. In addition, Zack supported Operation ODYSSEY DAWN by providing aircraft spares for the first B-1B combat strikes ever launched from the United States. Sergeant Barton’s decorations include the Basic Military Training Honor Graduate Ribbon, the Air Force Achievement Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal. As an Airman in the USAF, Zack’s shoes were always shined, his uniform always pressed, and he always stood tall. Though his life was short, Zack led a full life and had an extraordinary journey in the span of it. He was amazingly brilliant and wonderful, always in control, bold, reserved, honest and forthright; and handy — he could fix anything with duct tape. He excelled in bowling, and loved to hunt. He was always tinkering with his golf game and was starting to shoot bogie scores. He was a Seahawks’ fan through and through, and for grandpa Leone, pulled for the Dodgers.
“Don’s home town was Southgate, KY, but for the last few years has been a member of the United States Air Force, located in Cheyenne, Wyoming where he was known as Senior Airman Donald X. Anthe. Don was very well known and respected in the Air Force community, where he not only was liked by all, but he was regarded as the “gotta have an excellent rating” kind of guy. He was also in pursuit of a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Don spent many hours of his days volunteering in the Cheyenne area. He was a Boy Scout leader, devoted hours at the Med Group Trick or Treat and also helped with the Medical Group booster club. Don loved spending time with his friends, playing video games and just hanging out talking and laughing. He was very proud to wear his Air Force uniform. His teamwork, leadership and positive attitude was recognized by senior leadership as he received multiple awards, one of his most noteworthy was Airman of the Year for the Medical Support Squadron in 2008. Don will be truly missed by all those who had the pleasure of knowing him and being his friend. May he rest in peace.” — with Kathy Holliday Anthe.