by Nick Palmisciano We need to step up. All of us....
By RU Rob
Every day people work behind the scenes for veterans and their families; these volunteers dedicate their free time to the well-being of others for no other purpose than to help those who deserve assistance. Sometimes the simple action of reading can save a veteran’s life. This is the story of a volunteer who did so much with very little.
Deb Boyce is a volunteer with GallantFew, Inc., an organization dedicated to helping in the transition of veterans from active duty to the civilian world. Deb compiles the weekly newsletter for GallantFew, spending hours roaming various veteran and military Facebook groups, chat-rooms and websites in search of articles and information for her readers. At the request of Karl Monger, Executive Director of GallantFew, she also monitors those pages for veterans in need of immediate assistance.
Recently, Deb was perusing a particular Facebook page for content when she came across the following post:
“The Veterans System has put me in a simple place, their “Committee” issued my Death Warrant. That is OK! They woke up one of the most dangerous Men in America. I have decided to commit Suicide and take a few of these assholes, when the Committee decide they were right and I was wrong and that I am not worth saving for a little while longer why should I just sit down and die. The field of battle has never worried me, I can only die once! The Cowards in the VA die a thousand times. Your great Brother’s and Sister’s love you all! Oh! Yeah! The Suicide line of the VA is to say they tried, so when you die it is you and only you that caused it!”
Immediately recognizing the potential for a disastrous situation, Deb reached out to Karl Monger and Boone Cutler of National Warfighter Program. Boone and Karl had recently presented this situation to the Western States’ Hostage Negotiators Association and had trained on how to deal with the situation.
Then, a multi-pronged response began.
Using the available, open-source information obtained from the internet, Deb began trying to get ahold of the 911 in the area where veteran was thought to reside. After four different calls starting in her local town in Mississippi, she was finally able to connect with a dispatcher in the town where the veteran lived. A police response was initiated and after hearing that the veteran had a wife at home with him, the situation quickly escalated into a hostage negotiation.
Boone Cutler and his wife Malisalou were also working frantically trying to get in touch with the veteran in need. After receiving the copied information of the veteran’s Facebook page, Boone sent the Veteran a direct message and included his telephone number. The immediate response from the veteran was chilling, “…it’s too late, my house is already surrounded.”
Yet, a couple minutes later, Boone’s phone rang; it was the veteran. Boone then started a conversation with him, veteran to veteran, brother to brother. Simultaneously at Boone’s side, Malisalou was luckily able to connect with the police via phone and was transferred to the senior police officer on the scene. This was vital in the situation as Malisalou was able to relay information directly from Boone to the police which painted a true picture of the situation, and removed a lot of the anxiety and tension from the police outside the residence.
This communication was also the primary reason the police changed their posturing status from “lethal” to “less than lethal”; a move that ultimately saved a potential suicide-by-cop.
After a long, two-hour, dilemma, the tense and potentially deadly situation came to a peaceful end. The caring hearts of these volunteers saved not only a veteran but possibly the lives of many others in the process.
The 911 dispatcher in the veteran’s town who took the initial call from Deb Boyce sent her a Facebook message the following day that read:
“I am the dispatcher that took this call & sent [redacted] help. I can’t thank you enough for contacting our local law enforcement and giving all the information you had. It was greatly helpful & appreciated. I will say after a 2 hour stand-off with SOU called to the scene it was a nerve racking situation that ended very well. None of this could have been done without you help. My prayers to the cause and all those who serve.”
Karl Monger is now in contact with the veteran and is helping to resolve the issues he was having with the VA. Karl has committed himself to the veteran and will continue to follow up on not only his physical health but his mental well- being as well.
The struggle of this veteran is far from over, but he now has a support structure to help him along the way.
These silent angels are everywhere and while they do not seek attention, they deserve it. Thank you to all who serve both in uniform and those who support them.
“I will not take my own life by my own hand until I talk to my battle buddy first. My mission is to find a mission to help my warfighter family.” –Boone Cutler – The Spartan Pledge