Special thanks to the family of USMC Cpl. Kevin Rodrick for their courage and forthrightness in making sure Kevin's story is heard, and for their sincere desire to make his story part of the solution.
Kevin's mother, Kathy, praised the Marine Corps for its concern and assistance after her son died Aug. 15. But she confronted a psychiatrist at the Veterans Administration about doing more to prevent suicides.
"He said, 'I'm sorry ma'am to tell you this has been happening more and more often,'" she said.
" 'Well then let's fix it,' " she told him. " 'You can't help Kevin, but you can help someone else.' "
"These guys don't know how to ask for help," she said. "They've been trained not to ask for help. We need to change that."
The Rodrick family sent us several wonderful photos of Kevin, including several that you can see in the print or online versions of the article. Here you can see three others. That's Kevin, above, on a transport aircraft in theater.
The image at left shows Kevin with his twin sister, Karen, who is a veteran who saw up close the ravages of that war on military personnel and civilians alike while on duty in Afghanistan .
In the bottom photo, that's Kevin at center in the background, preparing for a mission.
Those of you who are overseas are no doubt aware of the command's latest efforts to prevent suicides.
Here are some resources for those who would like more information and for anyone who wants to help a buddy or family member. The national suicide prevention hotline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you are a member of the military or a veteran, press 1 after you connect.
The gist of what the experts are saying is this: the military teaches its warriors to be tough and self-reliant. In order to be as tough and self-reliant and you can be, you need to know when to reach out for help.
For what it's worth, here's my definition of suicide: A permanent solution to a temporary problem. And they are all temporary problems.