TYLER, Texas (KETK) – As Americans celebrate this memorial Day weekend, remembering and honoring those who have died in service to this country, one mother with one organization is urging people not to forget those who’ve died after the battle by their own hands.
Suicide remains a scourge among service members. The veterans Administration and veterans groups estimate that anywhere from 17 to 22 veterans a day die by suicide.
One group, Mission 22, is working to change that statistic. And one mother, Barbie Rodhe of Flint, a state leader with Mission 22, was in Tyler Saturday at Dog Tags Restaurant & Taproom to help communicate Mission 22’s message that help is available and no veteran need struggle alone.
Rohde’s son, Sgt. Cody L. Bowman, committed suicide. Rohde has since made it her mission to save those who may be suffering as her son was.
That mission has grown even more critical since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Doctors across the country are warning that the pandemic is exacerbating mental health issues and reporting an increase in suicides.
Veterans, already struggling with a variety of issues, may be particularly vulnerable.
So, this weekend, as Americans gather to remember the fallen, Rohde wants to make certain that all the fallen are remembered, even those who fell to suicide.
“Because that is also dying in a hostile action,” she said.
She also wanted to make certain that East Texans veterans who may be struggling with pain, depression, or PTSD know that help is available through Mission 22.