Monday, November 16, 2015

"Operation Yellow Spear" Veteran Suicide Rally Saturday, November 14th

I wish I could have put some of the things I noticed that afternoon into words sooner but I wasn't able to process them right away. It's hard to explain how a stranger's name, written on a 3x5 index card, could mean anything significant and yet on that piece of paper titled "Battle card"were the words "Your hero".

Unsure of what it stood for, I took the card handed to me as we entered the church for a Veterans Suicide Prevention rally, a follow up to a previous "22 Too Many" event. Held in June, that was the first time I came face to face with some of the sobering facts about PTSD, soldiers and silent suffering. That afternoon at a local American Legion was informative and well run by a young man, but to compare the two events side by side was like night and day. I'm glad I got to be a part of both because five months later, standing in a church with an index card in my hand, it's sinking in that this problem isn't going away. And because that young man is even more dedicated to getting the word out now, today a larger number of us are gathered together in support of this cause. Words on posters and used frequently throughout the event were art, love, and grace, three things that were meant to epitomize this mission and steps of healing and assistance.

It was a few minutes into the program when images began to slide across the overhead screen. We saw faces of soldiers; read the words listing names and ranks; saw photos of men and women in uniform who served their country and came home from war. Because here at home - not overseas - is where they lost their battle.We were asked to stand when the name on our card appeared on the screen. As we rose to our feet you could see strangers focusing on the screen, connecting for the first time with a face and a name.

I stood in honor of Cpl Antonio F Trejo, US Marine Corps. Someone I knew nothing about before Saturday is now an index card lying here on my desk as a reminder to pass this on. He was a son, a guy who loved his dog and his Jeep; dedicated to being a Marine. He was a father. He lost his battle with PTSD on August 2nd, 2013 at the age of 25 and yes, now I know who he is; Cpl. Trejo is one of the 22 soldiers who die each day.

I'm not going to go into details about Operation Yellow Spear, because I want to encourage you to visit the site and learn for yourself. I'm just the messenger, bringing you a few words and a link; asking you to check out a newly established organization dedicated to this cause. I already knew that supporting our soldiers who are deployed is a great thing to do - and now I see that being there when they return could be even more important. To that end, please check out, like and share Operation Yellow Spear at

News story from local tv station WMDT:

Site where I found Cpl. Trejo's information:

Saturday's event: