Deana Orellana

Shared by her sister, Robin: “We lost Deana to a PTSD-related suicide on March 4, 2016. We didn’t even know about her diagnosis. My sister was one of the funniest and strongest women I ever knew. From a very young age, she always excelled at athletics. Her success in soccer came from her love of the game, hard work, and perseverance. Deana never failed at anything she put her mind to. She was a fun-loving and caring daughter, aunt, sister, and friend. She was an amazing scholar. She was an outstanding Marine and had recently found her calling to share her love of health and fitness with others. Deana was so brave. She served on one of the first Female Engagement Teams (FET) in OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan). She never shared what she saw and went through over there. She only said it forever changed her. Although Deana’s passing is tragic, my family is trying to raise PTSD and suicide awareness by sharing her story and keeping her memory alive.” Resting Place: Sacred Heart Cemetery, Monongahela, PADeana home state is Pennsylvania and her last residence was North Carolina#22toomany #OurHeroes are #NeverForgotten

Pamela Dowling

US Marine Corporal Pamela K Dowling, born 1987, in Vermillion, South Dakota, beloved daughter of Kelli Dowling and Robert Hanson, beloved sister of Paige Dowling. Pamela was raised in Portland and Estacada, Oregon. She was a graduate of Estacada High School, and a graduate from the University of Phoenix with a Bachelors degree. Pamela recently left her job as a Social Worker to a Sales Counselor. Pamela joined the United States Marine Corps and was based at Camp Pendleton, in San Diego County, California. She deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the Global War on Terror. Cpl Dowling earned numerous awards and commendations during her honorable service, she attained the rank of corporal. Loved ones left to cherish her memory are her maternal grandmother Kathleen Wyatt; her Aunt Lindsay and her husband Ryan Stevens; her Uncle Bill Blevins and his wife Ellen; her Great Uncle Mark Wyatt and his wife Janice; her grandfather George and his wife Jane Dowling; her sister Paige Dowling; her mother Kelli M. Dowling; her father Robert Hanson and his daughter, Alexandria Hanson; her paternal grandmother Annie Dappen; and his other children and family members as well. From the mother of Cpl Dowling, Kelli: “Our daughter was a true hero and a winner! She was loved by her family and all her friends. A part of me died that day. No parent should ever have to bury their child. I’m so heart broken, I’ll never be same again as well as her Dad and our entire family. I love you, Pam. We must help our soldiers! They are true heroes, like our daughter, Pamela. I love you, honey. I’m only here because of Paige. I wish I could have taken your place honey. Rest in peace with the Angels, my baby girl. I will see you again.” Cpl Pamela K Dowling lost her battle with PTS, May 22, 2015. She was 28 years old. She now rests peacefully at Willamette National Cemetery, Portland, Oregon.

Jennifer Schwartz

Jennifer Schwartz grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. She served in the Army from 2009-2012. She was a combat medic for the 10th Mountain Division C Co, 94th BSB and toured in Afghanistan from October 2010 to October 2011. (She was stationed in Ft. Jackson, SC, Ft. Sam Houston, TX, and Ft. Polk, LA.) She loved helping people alongside her “battle buddies” and continued this path when she returned home.She had started nursing school and began working for Lakeside Family Health Center as a physician’s assistant. More than anything, Jennifer loved spending time with her family and called often when she was away. Jennifer lost her battle on March 5, 2016. “Love is how you stay alive, even after you are gone.” Jennifer is loved by many, which is how we know she will stay alive. She left behind her mother and step-father, Martha and John Chambers, and father, Paul Schwartz, as well as three sisters, Jamie, Melissa, and Denise, a brother, Paul, and many nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, and a very special grandmother. One of her last goodbyes was, “I just want your girls to know I love them” in reference to her nieces, Kaylee and Savannah.“Is there anything worse than losing your friends/family to demons that can be tamed? There is a system in place that FAILS combat veterans. Be a part of the change: speak out, talk to your friends, and don’t allow them to fall victim. You are not helpless; you are not alone; ASK for help; change the stigma.” –Jennifer’s combat buddy, Chelsea

Rachel McKay

McKAY, Sgt. Rachel Reve Age 23, of Marblehead, MA passed away unexpectedly on April 8, 2019 at the United States Army’s Fort Gordon located in Augusta, GA. Rachel had recently completed Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, in Columbia, SC, graduating second in her Company within the 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment. Upon graduation from Basic Combat Training, Rachel was assigned to Fort Benning near Columbus, GA to attend the United States Army’s Officer Candidate School. Rachel was a proud, fit, respected and tireless soldier, and a sought after “battle buddy” by her fellow officer candidates in the highly selective program. She was dedicated to live by and embody the Army’s core values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. Prior to earning her appointment to Officer Candidate School, Rachel was an accomplished scholar and student-athlete. Rachel graduated from William Smith College in May 2018, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. At William Smith, Rachel played NCAA Division III athletics as a forward on the Women’s Ice Hockey Team, and as a member of the Women’s Golf Team. During her senior year at William Smith, Rachel earned the golf team’s Most Valuable Player Award, and holds many individual scoring records in the college’s golf program. Prior to attending William Smith, Rachel graduated from Marblehead High School and, there too, was an elite and recognized athlete playing ice hockey, golf and softball. Rachel also played on elite national women’s ice hockey teams, once travelling to a national championship in Dallas, TX. But, looking past her military, collegiate and high school accomplishments, Rachel was best at being a sister, daughter and friend. She was a genuine and caring person with extra doses of empathy and admiration for the underdog, and was deeply rooted with a sense of fairness and selflessness. She will be missed more than words can express by the many people she touched during her far too short time with them. Her extended family and friends are shattered with her having been taken from them too soon, and there will forever be an emptiness in their hearts for Rachel. But they will persevere and remember the light, happiness and joy that Rachel brought into their lives with her humor, friendship, genuineness and candor. Rachel leaves hundreds of heartbroken friends and family members. Rachel is survived by her parents, David and Deborah, and her loving sister Halle, and her faithful and cherished dog, Eddie, of Marblehead. Rachel is also survived by her maternal grandparents, Vincent and Esther Grimaldi, of New Hartford, NY; her paternal grandparents, Edwin and Ruth McKay, of Rockport, MA; her Aunt Kimmy Fortier, and her husband, Marc, of Hamilton, MA; her Uncle Stuart McKay, and his wife, Ann, and their daughters Maddie and Samantha, of Marblehead, MA; her Uncle Mark Grimaldi, and his wife Kristine, of Clinton, NY; and many other countless relatives and friends across New England and beyond.#22toomany #OurHeroes are #Neverforgotten

Michele Langhorst

Michelle Rachael Langhorst was born on May 13, 1983 in Pittsburgh, Pa. She is the beloved daughter of Michael and Concetta Langhorst and precious sister of Nicole Langhorst as well as countless other family members and friends. Michelle was raised in Pittsburgh, Pa and was a bright, vivacious and athletic woman who was passionate about sports, especially soccer. Soccer was her first love; she played on several recreation teams as well as travel and cup teams throughout high school. She excelled at soccer and could have pursued a professional career, but chose to study criminal justice at Seton Hill University and Point Park University where she obtained her Bachelors Degree in August 2014. During her time at Seton Hill University, Michelle spoke with an Army recruiter and decided she wanted to serve our country; she joined in February 2004. Michelle’s mark of specialty was military police, which she enjoyed immensely. Immediately finishing basic training, she was deployed to Germany then Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom with the 212th company. She made lifelong friends with her fellow soldiers and had a special bond with them. One of her fellow soldiers told our family a story that is proof what an excellent, compassionate, and heartfelt woman she was. During the deployment in Afghanistan, she used her free time and money to visit children in the orphanage and brought them toys, food and water and they played games too. He told us how dangerous it was for her to leave the confines of the base and risked her life to visit these orphans. Michelle was very humble and never told anyone at home about her selfless works. As you can imagine, our family felt very proud upon hearing Michelle’s selfless works. After her time in Afghanistan and Germany, Michelle was 1 of 2 women chosen for a special assignment in Brussels, Belgium doing protective services for NATO. Michelle received many accolades and awards during her 9 years of service and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. Michelle was honorably discharged after she sustained an injury to her arm. Michelle was such a giving and kind person, always doing for others instead of tending to her own needs. She had such a beautiful heart and is loved and missed beyond words. Michelle lived for her family and was very excited to be a Godmother to her precious Harper Monroe Michelle, whom she never got to meet. We are certain she is in Heaven and will be the guiding light for Harper.SSG Michelle Rachael Langhorst5/13/833/30/15Gone but NEVER forgotten

Paula Graham

“My story is actually the continuation of her story. I’ve heard it said that only a handful of people are ever lucky enough to meet their soulmate. I was blessed in that my soulmate was my younger sister whom I had in my life for all 38 of her years. My name is Sara. I grew up the oldest of three girls in a military family. I was 18 months older than my middle sister Paula, but she and I could have been twins. She was my confidant, my supporter, my encourager and my best friend. After graduating college, Paula joined the Army Reserves. During her time in the service she was deployed on two separate occasions. Once to the Persian Gulf and once to Iraq. She was promoted to the rank of Major during her service and received a bronze star medal. While deployed she suffered and fought with depression and suicidal thoughts. As she had a high security clearance, she suffered quietly and spoke only to her most trusted confidants. After returning to civilian life she continued to struggle with her experiences overseas, however continued to refuse treatment for fear of losing her rank as she was employed at Ft. Lee. She spoke to me often about her experiences as I am licensed professional counselor, however I could not provide the therapy or treatment she desperately needed. She went to a primary care physician for guidance and began to be prescribed medications to include antidepressants, sleeping pills, benzodiazepines and opiates. Against my advice, she continued to take these medications even though her depression worsened. Her personal life began to take a toll as she went through a divorce and faced the challenges of being a single parent. She began to turn to alcohol as a means of escape. On September 18, 2015 she sent me a text message telling me exactly how she planned to end her life. As a mental health professional, I did what I thought was best at the time and called the authorities. The police came to her home and she was able to convince them that she was ok and was not in need of services. Her work found out about the police involvement and she began to worry that she would lose her security clearance and that she would not be eligible for the job promotion for which she had applied. She was very angry with me and told me that I did not understand how the military operated. On September 19, 2015, after enduring several hours of radio silence from my sister, I got the dreaded phone call from a local police officer. She had followed through on her suicide and ended her life exactly as she had described to me. My entire world fell apart. A part of me died. My heart was ripped wide open. I have never before or since experienced pain to that intensity. I was ready for my own life to end. I could not imagine continuing in this world without my soulmate. Without my best friend. Without my sweet sister. There were several times I came close. I can barely remember that first year.As people in my community and the military community learned of the story of my sister, I began to better understand the struggles and difficulties facing our military personnel. I began to understand the stigma of talking about depression and mental illness. I began to understand the desire for secrecy. I became involved with a taskforce and started to participate in 22 mile rucks to raise awareness for Veteran Suicide. I began to post my journey with #missherloveher on every step I took. The first 22 mile ruck I completed I did so in her shoes. I wanted to literally, walk in her shoes and understand her pain. The harder I worked my body the more my heart began to heal. Paula was an avid runner and completed several marathons. I had never completed anything beyond a 5K. I was asked about completing the 42nd MCM in 2017 and laughed at the idea. When I looked into it however, I discovered that it was going to be held in Arlington, VA which is near where she is buried in Quantico, VA. The determining factor however was the date of the MCM, October 22, 2017. The 42nd MCM was to be held on what would have been her birthday. I made the decision that I had to do it. For me and for her. I again posted my journey with #formeandforher as I prepared for the marathon. I set a goal for myself to complete this marathon, knowing that quitting was not an option for me. I am proud to say that I did successfully complete the marathon and received my finisher’s medal on my sister’s birthday. For me and for her. As I mentioned, I wish I had known about this organization (22 Too Many) before the marathon so that I could have further honored her and promoted further awareness. My story continues and I am going to continue to share the story of my sister. My hope is that another family be spared the pain and devastating grief associated with veteran suicide.” Shared by Paula’s sister, Sara Paula was an incredibly loving mother who cherished her son, Liam. She was a beloved daughter, sister, and friend. Paula was born in Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated from Brooke Point High School, class of 1995 in Stafford, VA. Paula went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from George Mason University and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Columbia Southern University. Paula was a Major in the United States Army Reserves. She was a proud Veteran having served her country in the Iraq War. Her decorations include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, and the Reserve Components Medal. Paula also worked in Civil Service. She was a Budget Analyst at the Combined Arms Support Command in Fort Lee. In her free time she enjoyed running and participated in many marathons. She attended Enon Baptist Church in Chester, VA. Final rest: Quantico National Cemetery#22toomany #OurHeroes are #NeverForgotten

Katie Desmond

“On Wednesday morning I lost the love of my life, Katie Desmond. She unfortunately lost her battle with PTSD, and joined her brothers and sisters in arms. She was an MP from early 2001 until 2008, with 2 deployments to Iraq. We don’t have a lot of friends and family in the area, but I would like to honor her and get the word out about her services.”Upcoming Event – Katie’s Service Information:DEC 10. 01:00 PM (12/10/15)Tallahassee National Cemetery5015 Apalachee ParkwayTallahassee, FL, US, 32311Katie Desmond (nee Brown) passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday December 2nd, at the age of 36.Katie is survived by her husband, Daniel Desmond of Tallahassee, her parents James and Kathleen Brown of Payson, AZ, her brothers Thomas Brown, her brother James Brown Jr and his significant other Imelda Lopez of Phoenix, AZ, her sister Kristie Scisim (nee Brown) with her husband Jason Scisim, a great-aunt who Katie adored very much Jean Hogue, and many other uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, and nephews.Katie served honorably in the United States Army as a Military Police Officer for 8 years, with multiple deployments to Iraq, earning the Army Commendation Medal (x3), the Combat Action Badge, the Iraq Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal. The patriotism and love of country that the military instilled never left Katie after her return home. Katie was a valued member of the Tallahassee Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3308, where she was a Life Member.After Katie’s return home, she earned her Associates Degree in Biology from Florida Keys Community College in Key West, before moving to Tallahassee to attend Florida State University for Biology, where her degree was in progress at the time of her passing. Katie was a proud Seminole and enjoyed watching FSU football. Katie’s dream was to work with endangered Florida wildlife, particularly baby animals.Katie was a loyal and caring wife, and an outgoing and warmhearted friend to all those around her. Always willing to lend a hand or to just listen to a friend in need, Katie will be dearly missed by all those who knew her.Services will be Thursday, December 10th at 12:30 PM at the Tallahassee National Cemetery on Apalachee Parkway. Donations can be made in lieu of flowers at the website set up in her name, www.gofundme.com/KatieDesmond . Todd Wahlquist with Bevis Funeral Home is assisting the family with their arrangements. 850-385-2193, www.bevisfh.com———-If you’re visiting this site, you’re aware that Katie Desmond (Brown) passed away Wednesday December 2nd. Katie unfortunately lost her battle with PTSD, and joined her brothers and sisters in arms watching over us all. Katie was a Military Police officer in the United States Army, serving 8 years from early 2001 until 2008, serving in Saudi Arabia, and then 2 tours in Iraq. Katie was stationed in Fort Carson, Colorado for her enlistment. Katie was a a loyal and loving wife, a dedicated friend, and the most kind and giving person I have ever met in my life. I was lucky enough to have spent the last 4 plus years married to the absolute love of my life. In the hours following her passing, I have spoken with more great people than I can count, many reaching out, desperate for this not to be true. These individuals, many sharing with me stories about how they had met Katie, and memories that they had shared together. It made me realize just how many lives Katie had really touched, because the one common theme with all of these people is that most had the same thing to say about Katie, that she was the kindest and most caring friend one could ask for. She would be the first to volunteer to help a friend in need, and would always be there to check on a friend, veteran or not. Prior to her passing, Katie was a full time student at Florida State University, studying Biology. Katie’s dream was to work with baby animals, and have a career working to protect endangered Florida wildlife, a goal which I truly admired and supported. To honor Katie, I am going to give the names of a few of the organizations that she supported, so if you wish to donate, you may. You may also donate directly to her family for related costs through this gofundme page.

Toni Corbin

Corporal Toni Corbin served in the United States Army from July 3, 2008 to February 27, 2009. She received the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon. She currently was serving in the United States Army Reserve.Toni was an amazing and devoted wife and mother and she loved her family more than anything. She loved life to the fullest and was always up for an adventure. Toni was ever determined if she put her mind to it there was no stopping her. She was a force of her own. Toni had one of the most infectious smiles you couldn’t help but just instantly be happy when you saw it.With her larger than life prescience, she could turn anyone’s mood right around and just make you excited even if you didn’t know why. She was always there if you needed her quick to help anyone even a stranger. She had so much to give. So much life, love, and energy. She loved the outdoors, being active up for trying anything. Simply put, she was an amazing spirit with so much life and love to offer her loved ones and the world. Let’s not forget Roll Tide – she was an Alabama Crimson Tide Football Fanatic.Born January 30, 1988 in Winston County, Alabama, the daughter of Tony and Debra, she married Angelia on June 30, 2011 in Peoria, IL. Angelia survives along with their amazing son, Gaven. Also surviving are her father, mother and step-father, four brothers and her grandmothers.

Sophi Champoux

Sophie Christine Lisa Champoux, 25, Fort Stewart, GA died September 30, 2011. She was born July 5, 1986 in Orlando, the daughter of Denis Jean Joseph Champoux and Suzette Perkins Champoux. She was a former Clermont resident and member of Clermont Bible Church. In 2006, she relocated to New Jersey. At the time of her death, she was a Sergeant in the US Army stationed at Fort Stewart. Sophie was a gift. She loved sports and her hobbies included softball, Tae Kwon Do, hockey, and unicycle riding, to name a few. She also played guitar and drums. Sophie was a simple person, full of common sense. She loved her two younger brothers, Ian and Noah, and was a relentless prankster. At a young age, she was “Sergeant” and got her little brothers to do her dirty deeds! She loved and protected them all her life and was always loyal to them. In 9th grade she joined NJROTC, but quit when her CO was paralyzed. After that she attended graphic design school and earned her certification. But her dream had always been to serve in the Army, so she enlisted, after having scored an extremely high 98% on her ASVAB. Sophie went to boot camp and excelled. At her graduation everything seemed fine. She went to technical school at Fort Sam Houston and became an Army Medic. She seemed excited and began to think about becoming a doctor or a Physician Assistant. She served as a Combat Medic in Operation Enduring Freedom, stationed at FOB Sharana in Afghanistan. Sophie loved the Afghani children. In three and a half years, Sophie was raped while she was on duty in White Sands, New Mexico, in Sharan, Afghanistan, and at Ft. Stewart, Georgia. The same man raped her in Afghanistan, and at Ft. Stewart. He stalked her from Afghanistan to Georgia. She could not get away from him. Sophie called her mother from Afghanistan and said, “Mom send me Ka-Bar because I cannot go to the bathroom safely. I have more to fear from my own (fellow soldiers) than any enemy Afghani with a grenade.” She was never scared of Afghani citizens. She was afraid of her fellow soldiers. Sophie lost her battle to post traumatic stress / military sexual trauma one month after her final attack. The stalking rapist at Ft. Stewart confessed to CID (Criminal Investigative Division) and then he retracted his statements, stole an Army vehicle, and got arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence). He is currently serving a sentence at Fort Leavenworth’s Military Corrections Complex. Sophie was a true American sweetheart. Her mother, Suzie, loves this picture of Sophie because “she is so free – at her favorite place – Tybee Island!”#22toomany #OurHeroes are #NeverForgotten #militarysexualtrauma #mst

Heather Bass

Heather Renea Bass, Oklahoma City resident, passed away Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at her residence at the age of 42. She was born October 13, 1973 in Tahlequah, OK. Heather enlisted in the United States Army and served her country proudly. She retired from the Army with the rank of Sergeant after several years of service. Heather loved woodwork. OSU was her team. She loved all of her family members, near and far. She had a job playing with the children. Today, in Tempe, AZ at the 22 Too Many 5k held on 06/17/17, Heather’s picture was proudly carried by her cousin as she raced in Heather’s memory.#22toomany #OurHeroes are #NeverForgotten

Courtney Rush

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.

Waynetta Frost

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

Jamie Brunette

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

Kimberly Agar

Sergeant Kimberly D. Agar served her country as an American Soldier and was an exceptional individual to all who knew her. This tragedy has taken an outstanding young lady from her family and her friends. Words cannot and will not describe this tremendous loss and how much Kimberly’s death has and will continue to impact those still serving. Kimberly won her position as a vocalist with the US Army Europe Band and Chorus by virtue of her fine talent and commitment. Before joining, she was a valued member of the 3rd of the 159th Attack Reconnaissance Brigade, so much so that her commander came to wish her well at her final audition. Kim went to Birdville High School, where she received a letter jacket for community service. After graduating in 2004, Kim attended community college. But Kim had attention deficit disorder and dyslexia, and Margy said college didn’t work out for her. She worked as a waitress and a lifeguard. When her older brother, Stephen, joined the Air Force, Kim was inspired. In 2006, she surprised her family and friends and enlisted in the Army. She was stationed with the 104th Transportation Co. at Fort Benning in Georgia. In the summer of 2007, Kim was deployed to Iraq. She drove equipment across the country. Just a few months into combat, an improvised explosive device, or IED, hit Kim’s truck.Her mother Margy was told a large mushroom cloud of dust surrounded the truck. The blast broke the truck’s windshield. Insurgents fired at Kim and the driver, who did the only thing they could. They kept driving through the ambush. After the attack, Kim was diagnosed with a concussion, hearing loss and insomnia, according to Margy and Army records. “They were very lucky they didn’t die,” Margy said. “But I look back and think it was a slow death.” She was proud of joining the chorus and quickly became an effective musical ambassador in both Germany and other countries in Europe. Kimberly was such an asset not only to her unit, but the United States Army as a musical ambassador. She set an outstanding example learning music and choreography, leading the way for her fellow Soldiers. After she arrived in the chorus, it was only a short time before she actually became the assistant dance choreographer. Her dancing abilities were superb and she was able to help train the other members of the group in a very efficient manner. Recently, Kimberly was awarded with the coin of excellence from the Afghanistan Minister of Defense. Kimberly’s performance for the ambassador was superb and attributed to the Minister having said in his words “the best night of my life in thirty-years”. The impact that this loss will have is huge. Kimberly was loved and respected by all who knew her. Kimberly loved what she was doing. She always gave all she had and came to work fully prepared for the musical missions she was tasked with. Kimberly’s impact reached to the far parts of the globe and that she will never be forgotten by the members of her Army Family. Born in Dallas, TexasResting Place: Dallas Ft Worth National Cemetery A Dream Come True Ends in Suicide for Soldierby Chase Cook, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Fellow | News21Published Aug. 24, 2013 The roadside bomb blasted the safety hatch and blew away the windshields on the heavy transport that Army Pfc. Kimberly Agar rode across Iraq during the 2007 surge. As she regained her composure, insurgents rained rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire on the convoy for about 15 minutes. Agar climbed into the back seat and returned fire as the convoy pushed through the ambush.Agar’s group didn’t suffer fatalities in that attack but she was diagnosed as having a concussion after she complained of headaches and insomnia, about a day after the bombing.About a year later, Agar finished her 15-month deployment and went home to Dallas for a two-week break before returning to Fort Benning, Ga. Her mother, Margy Agar, though, noticed her daughter was different, saying she was distant, withdrawn and not “my Kimi anymore.”In 2009, Kimberly Agar re-enlisted and was posted to Germany, a place she had always wanted to visit. There, the talented vocalist who swept pageants in her childhood and teen years eventually made the U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus, singing with the elite, selective military musical troupe that performs at diplomatic and military events.It was a job that the younger Kimberly would have envied — getting paid to travel the world as an entertainer. Agar told everyone it was her dream gig. But there were lingering effects of her injuries, fragile emotions and even a suicide attempt.Early in October 2011, Agar killed herself in Germany after struggling with a minor traumatic brain injury.Agar was one of 301 military suicides in 2011, according to the Department of Defense. In 2012, the number of suicides climbed to 350, exceeding combat deaths that year.Unlike many combat veterans interviewed in this project, the singer-turned-soldier made the decision to stay in the military, continuing a career she loved.Memory loss, anxiety and insomnia followed Agar from Iraq to Dallas to Germany.Agar was born in Dallas, Nov. 25, 1985. She and her two brothers grew up in Texas.Margy Agar called Kimberly “her joy.” She always was energetic and passionate about entertaining people, her mother said. When she was younger, Kimberly’s plans were to move to California and pursue an entertainment career, Margy Agar said.Kimberly Agar traveled around Texas competing in pageants and singing her heart out. On her bedside wall, she posted photos of all the famous people she met. In 1996, she performed at the White House with a youth group.Jessica Edwards was her best friend in school. They had sleepovers, gushed over boys and listened to country singers, Edwards said. LeAnn Rimes was Agar’s favorite.Agar’s voice was one of her trademarks, Edwards said. During school performances, Agar confidently belted solos. She was not only talented, but also beautiful, Edwards said. Everyone knew her and she didn’t have any enemies.But Agar’s apparently happy childhood was marred by her parents’ separation when she was 13 and divorce when she was 16, Margy Agar said. It was around that time that Kimberly and her father argued during a phone conversation. Afterward Kimberly cut her wrist in front of her mother.Agar was one of 301 military suicides in 2011, according to the Department of Defense. In 2012, the number of suicides climbed to 350, exceeding combat deaths that year.Unlike many combat veterans interviewed in this project, the singer-turned-soldier made the decision to stay in the military, continuing a career she loved.Memory loss, anxiety and insomnia followed Agar from Iraq to Dallas to Germany.Agar was born in Dallas, Nov. 25, 1985. She and her two brothers grew up in Texas.Margy Agar called Kimberly “her joy.” She always was energetic and passionate about entertaining people, her mother said. When she was younger, Kimberly’s plans were to move to California and pursue an entertainment career, Margy Agar said.Kimberly Agar traveled around Texas competing in pageants and singing her heart out. On her bedside wall, she posted photos of all the famous people she met. In 1996, she performed at the White House with a youth group.Jessica Edwards was her best friend in school. They had sleepovers, gushed over boys and listened to country singers, Edwards said. LeAnn Rimes was Agar’s favorite.Agar’s voice was one of her trademarks, Edwards said. During school performances, Agar confidently belted solos. She was not only talented, but also beautiful, Edwards said. Everyone knew her and she didn’t have any enemies.But Agar’s apparently happy childhood was marred by her parents’ separation when she was 13 and divorce when she was 16, Margy Agar said. It was around that time that Kimberly and her father argued during a phone conversation. Afterward Kimberly cut her wrist in front of her mother.That was her first suicide attempt, but it was more a “cry for help” than anything else, Margy Agar said. Kimberly took her father’s leaving very hard.After high school, Kimberly attended Tarrant County College, but her dyslexia made school life difficult. She quit to work on singing, but when her older brother joined the Air Force in July 2006, she was inspired to serve. Agar joined the Army in October of that year, and by July 2007 was deployed to Iraq.Agar drove heavy equipment, massive semis that primarily moved tanks across the country, said Sgt. Mitchell Amos, her platoon sergeant.It’s a job with little sleep, traveling from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. over some of the most dangerous roads in Iraq during her 15-month deployment, Amos said.“Mentally, it was destructive,” he said.Agar didn’t open up about her injuries and depression until she got back to Georgia with her company. Amos told her to seek help, then join a military chorus so she could resume singing.Things did get better for Agar after she re-enlisted and went to Germany, those interviewed said.There, she refueled helicopters and met her new best friend, Sarah Hough. Agar did everything she could for the people she came across and she loved to try new things, Hough said. They spent evenings and weekends shopping, drinking and doing “normal stuff.”Agar didn’t speak often of the injuries she suffered in Iraq, or anything else bothering her. If she did talk about it, it was vague, Hough said.In February 2011, Agar applied for the elite U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus. After the 30-day process she was selected as a vocalist. It marked her return to traveling, singing and dancing.“When she made the chorus she was on cloud nine,” her mother said. “She thanked God for living her dream getting paid to do what she loved.”Agar’s performances earned her the Coin of Excellence from the Afghanistan Minister of Defense. She also was selected as the chorus assistant dance choreographer, according to her obituary written by the chorus Chain of Command.But the job wasn’t perfect.Michael Webb, a retired Army sergeant and former band and chorus member, said the troupe was akin to “a fraternity.” Chorus members would bully one another, he said, about their performances and sometimes there was professional jealousy.“They really let you have it. From what I can see from my perspective, maybe they were a little too hard,” Webb said.Fearing the critiques would get her kicked out of the chorus, Agar became unreasonably critical of herself, paranoid that she would lose her job in the chorus, according to sworn statements in Army records.Besides close friends, nobody at the time knew Agar was struggling with injuries from her deployment, Webb said.On Sept. 6, 2011, after a harsh critique from a chorus member, Agar sent her mother a Facebook message.“It said, ‘Mom, just remember I will always love you,’” Margy Agar said.After several phone calls, Margy Agar was told her daughter had overdosed and was found with her wrists cut while sad music played in the background.Kimberly Agar was taken to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, where she stayed for 11 days. Her doctor wrote “patient is likely unfit for service.”Agar returned to her barracks, but requested a move to a higher floor. This floor only had one other person living on it and she was isolated from her friends. She was back to work two weeks after her suicide attempt, Margy Agar said.Webb saw her once after the attempt.“I remember coming to formation in the morning. I walked by her and she looked kind of down and out of it,” Webb said. “Why couldn’t they tell us, her friends, that she [attempted suicide] so we could help her. Once I knew everything, I felt bad.”On Sept. 30, 2011, an argument among chorus members prompted a meeting, scheduled for the following Monday. Over the weekend, Agar and some friends went shopping; it was the last time she was seen alive, Margy Agar said.Kimberly’s death so devastated Margy Agar that she now suffers from depression and post-traumatic stress. She won’t say how her daughter died.“Sometimes I […]