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Military family loses son to PTSD

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Updated: 10/26/2012 11:51 pm Published: 10/26/2012 10:10 pm

The family of a United States Marine Corp. corporal who killed himself on Sunday wants to help veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

Cpl. Wade Austin Toothman suffered from PTSD for three years.  He served two tours in his four years with the Marine Corp.  He deployed to Afghanistan from January 1, 2008 to August 31, 2008.  Then he toured in Iraq from May 1, 2009 to October 31st of 2009.  He was held for three months after his return from Iraq to be officially medically discharged. 

Cpl. Toothman’s aunt, Debi Hendrix said “When he came home the first time I looked in his eyes and he wasn’t there.  He lost his best friend in an accident where he was blown up and I think that pretty much started everything.”

She said he got some help but not enough. 

“He should have stayed longer but he just wanted to come home,” said Hendrix.  “But he literally told them what they wanted to hear so he could come home. “

Hendrix was the first to read Cpl. Toothman’s suicide note.  She said she feels guilty for not realizing how much he was suffering.

“I missed it,” said Hendrix.  “We aren’t qualified.  We aren’t doctors. We aren’t supposed to be; that’s why we have to find a way to help these people.”

She told FOX23 she plans to call each and every one of her nephew’s military friends who served overseas and make sure they get the help they need.  She said she cannot live her life feeling guilty.

“When I read it I felt like fool,” said Hendrix as she described the moment she   “I knew this child so well; he was with me constantly.  I did not know he was suffering.  He would say aunt Debi, it’s buzzing in my head.  It’s bad.”

The state’s mental health department said veteran suicide is an epidemic.  Last year, 210 veterans took their own lives in Oklahoma and nationally, 6,000 veterans killed themselves. 

The state said signs to look for are if veterans are giving their personal belongings away or not talking about future activities. 

A number for suffering veterans or family members to call for help is 211 or you can go to this website and use it as a resource for veterans:

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

rena6787 - 10/29/2012 12:45 PM
0 Votes
I am so sorry for your loss and the loss of yet another veteran of this country. I can understand his thinking though. I also won't talk about my experiences but for me, it's because I don't want my daughters to know what happened to me and the VA can't guarantee me that they will never see my records. I have, however, been helped by the book Faces of Combat. It was freeing to know that others had the same experience as me. The book also provided me with tips to control my intrusive thoughts and so far, it is working. God bless your family!

Aunt Debi - 10/28/2012 6:03 AM
0 Votes
AF Vet, Please contact, David Priest, aka "Poppy" @ Patriot Guard Riders. His e-mail address is Poppy knows exactly what you are going through. the things you have been involved in, gets in your head, you can't get them out. His words exactly, my nephew, Wade Toothman's exact words. Poppy can find that door for you. There is someone listening. We all can help. Prayers from our family to you - Wade's Aunt Debi Hendrix.

AF vet - 10/27/2012 5:00 PM
0 Votes
I still have those days when I really don't want to be here, but I don't want to have a negative label hung on me. I felt like I was kicked to the curb when I came back to the world, now I've been laid off from a job I could still function at. But A/A just looks at the numbers, not the people.

sheri - 10/27/2012 2:06 AM
0 Votes
Please have the family get ahold of me! want to help them. I lost my son to PTSD and already have started to help soldiers. or My name is Sheri
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