My brother, Richard Kellogg, was a veteran with PTSD from serving in Iraq. His story is below. It would give us hope if his story saved another veteran.
“I was nine years old when my brother Rick was born. I did not know that you could love a baby so much, let alone a brother. Rick was born happy, he always was positive. When he set out to do something he gave it his all. Rick grew up in Mechanicstown and attended Willis School, Bell Herron Middle School and Carrollton High School. Rick was always making people laugh, he was just a happy,funny,ornery kid. He made friends easily, and in most cases, they became lifelong friends. Rick was always the first one to jump in and help anyone. He could always be counted on. Rick played football,baseball and basketball throughout his school years. He worked harder to always try and be his very best in whatever he tried. Rick graduated from Carrollton High School in 1992 and was prom king that year.
After graduation Rick joined the Army and went to the 82nd Airborne Division after boot camp. He would later be based in Korea and Washington state. After he completed his four years he returned to live with his family in Canton, Ohio while he attended Kent State University, graduating with a Bachelors degree in criminal justice. Rick graduated with zero debt from his college years, some from his service. He worked two jobs and also did his National Guard duty while in school full time. Rick stayed with the military, serving in the Army Nation Guard at a couple different areas in Akron and Cleveland.
Once Rick graduated from college, he searched for employment in the criminal justice field. His search led him to Flagstaff, Arizona where he was hired as a police officer. Rick was enrolled in the police academy in Arizona where he stood out and was made a class leader. Rick never told us this story but it was shared at his funeral. After completing the police academy, Rick found a place to live with another police officer whom soon became one of the dozens to call him their best friend.
Shortly after he started working with the Flagstaff Police, Rick was informed his Arizona unit was going to be deployed through a base in Louisiana. Rick came to visit Ohio and shared his news with us. Rick was very eager to head to Iraq to represent his country. Rick was told he would now become part of the Military Police Unit and be going to Louisiana to prepare for deployment. Rick told us that he was concerned that they were not going to train him for the position he was taking but had been told the Police Academy’s training was more than adequate for his role.
Rick did keep in touch with us during his deployment but shared very little. He asked me to send him items that he was unable to buy there, which I happily did. Rick was able to buy a Harley and a truck while he was in Iraq. While in Iraq one of the things he did was to assist in training Iraqi Police Officers. When he came home on his leave Rick was changed. He was very quiet and distant, he seemed weary in his heart. We understood he had been through some pretty bad things, he talked about losing two of his guys and how he blamed himself for that. While he was home he drove to Washington, DC to visit another of his guys that had been injured in one of the IED hits. That was Rick, always more concerned for others. Rick re-enlisted while serving in Iraq. He returned from deployment in 2005 and settled back into his job at the police department in Flagstaff, AZ. Rick completed training to become a motorcycle officer after his return.
He loved his Harley, his friends and their children, his community, his job and the beautiful area he lived in. Rick was very physically active. He loved running, hiking, skiing and pretty much anything outdoors. As far as his family knew he was happy and healthy.
We received a call on Easter day, 2010. I can clearly see that moment in time when my husband informed my mother and I that Rick had committed suicide. Not one single person that knew Rick would ever have imagined this outcome. The overwhelming pain, shock and grief at this news was unfathomable. We went to Arizona in a fog trying to make sense out of the news. That was not possible.
During the process of planning his burial we kept hearing over and over again how very loved he was. We also started to hear that a few people knew he had PTSD. I wish we had known but I am unsure if it would have made any difference. ABC News reporter Lori Gliha in Phoenix, did a story in 2013 about Rick and his unit in Arizona, due the highest ratio of suicides at that time over combat losses in any other unit in the U.S.
Rick served 17 years and 10 months. Rick never bragged about anything he did. Prior to his death he was in Kentucky for a five week training class. At his funeral my mom was presented 2 medals by a General – one for being the honor grad of that class. My mother found dozens of medals packed in his garage, Rick never mentioned any of them to his family. That was the man he was, humble, helpful, funny, generous, and described by many as simply the best.
One of the first things people say about him is that he had a unique sense of humor. He was always making people laugh. I will say that we received tremendous support from his Sgt. and Outreach support services. Rick was a bright shining star that burned out too soon. He made an impact on everyone that knew him. Everyone.” Shared by Rebecca, his sister
#22toomany #OurHeroes are #NeverForgotten