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Joel Rodriguez

SSG Joel Rodriguez October 27, 1978 – February 8, 2016. My brother was a true hero. He is deeply missed by all his family and friends. He is missed every second of the day. His passing has left a huge void in our lives. Our mom, Lupe, is beyond devastated to have lost her son; when he became one of the 22 on 02/08/16 a part of our lives left with him too. As a sister, I feel like a part of me is buried with him at Fort Leonard Wood National Cemetery. Our family is broken and will never be complete again. I am very sure he never meant to cause this much pain and sorrow. He loved his family and worried about us every day. He was very strong willed, had a sense of humor that would break the ice in any situation, and had beautiful plans for the future. I am amazed at how quickly his Army comrades came together and offered us words of comfort and support. A true brotherhood. Joel brought many people together again and his presence is felt in many ways, but it will never make up for him being gone.

SSG ‘Rod’ Served in the ARMY for 15 years. He started in the high school ROTC and then in the National Guard and quickly signed up full time in the Army. I will never forget how much we cried when we took him to the recruitment office to say goodbye, but he was happy, the happiest I had ever seen him. He wanted to serve his country, and he served it well. He deployed 3 times – once to Kuwait and twice to Iraq. He was recipient of the Purple Heart. His awards include Meritorious Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with two Campaign stars, five Army commendation metals, two Army achievement medals, four Army good conduct medals, one Armed Forces expeditionary medal, one National Defense Service Medal, one Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, two non commission officer professional development ribbons, one Army service ribbon, two overseas service ribbons, and combat action badge. My brother Joel suffered from PTSD, TBI, Depression, and Anxiety, among many health issues sustained from Operation Iraqi Freedom. It has been a huge shock to lose him this way. Help me honor my brother SSG Rod by sharing our story, we hope to bring awareness to this terrible epidemic.

“I want him to call me and tell me it’s all been a joke. It gets harder every day, because it’s another day without him. Can you please add on the bio that it’s very, very important for vets with PTSD to always stay in close contact with their family and friends, to take their meds and therapy on a regular basis? My brother left home for 3 days without his medication and had we known, we would of helped him. God knows I would of crawled to where he was to prevent his suicide. And please add that he is missed by his sisters and brothers who are veterans. We are all in shock.” Shared by his sister, Maria