Cliff & Travis discuss the importance of highlighting heroic stories of our veterans during “Thank You For Freedom” segments. They highlight 3 stories of veterans who demonstrated their bravery and courage toward civilians, family, and their fellow brothers in arms.
Navy Hospital Corpsman Chris Walsh: Along with three other Marines he was with in June 2006, they were not looking for a baby. After a roadside bomb disrupted their routine patrol in Fallujah, an Iraqi woman flagged the group, repeating over and over, “Baby. Baby sick.” The girl, Mariam, was born with her bladder outside her body.
Determined to help her, Walsh took photos to show to a doctor back at camp. Mariam would need surgery in the United States, the doctor said. At night, Walsh and the group of Marines returned to the home each week to administer some kind of aid to the girl in hopes of staving off infections while Walsh and others searched for a solution to send her stateside.
When Walsh and two of three Marines were killed by a roadside bomb in September 2006, the other Marines in their battalion undertook Walsh’s efforts, ultimately finding a way to send Mariam to Boston in October 2006 for a successful surgery.
Lt. Cmdr. Bill Krissoff: After his son was killed by a roadside bomb in December 2006 during his deployment as a Marine officer, Dr. Bill Krissoff closed up his California medical practice and enlisted in the Navy at age 60. Initially running into age barriers, Lt. Cmdr. Krissoff went on to serve in Taqaddum and then in Afghanistan. “I wanted a sense of completing Nathan’s unfinished task,” Krissoff told the Los Angeles Times in 2009.
Cpl. Javier Alvarez: Outside a house of insurgents, and facing casualties, Cpl. Javier Alvarez moved toward the danger in November 2005. During that sprint, insurgents shot him three times in the leg. During treatment on his leg, more enemy fire came, so Alvarez grabbed his rifle and returned fire. At this point, Alvarez heard calls of an incoming grenade. He grabbed the grenade and threw it away—saving six Marines and losing his hand in the process. “I lifted up my arm to see what happened, and my hand was completely missing,” he told Stars and Stripes in 2009. Alvarez was awarded a Silver Star for his efforts. “I didn’t mourn over my losses or injuries,” he said in 2009. “I had a mission to accomplish and I had other stuff that was going on. I had Marines I had to take care of.”
We also speak on the most current statistics from the VA regarding the issue of suicide amongst veterans. Nearly 20 veterans take their own lives each day in the U.S. The new study, which is the most comprehensive suicide study ever conducted by the department, includes more than 50 million veterans’ records from 1979 to 2014, including every state. VA officials said in a statement that the information will allow them to “inform our suicide prevention programs and policies, especially for groups at elevated risk for suicide, including older and female veterans.”
Local resources in Eastern Oregon, such as the Veterans Restorative Care Center, aim to work with veterans who are struggling, and allow them to lead full lives beyond their time of service.