Indiana Parents Take On Veterans Advocacy After Losing Soldier Son to Suicide

Outreach Program Aims to Help Returning Veterans

by Ivy Farguheson
The Star Press, March 22, 2012

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Jeff Sexton and his family know what can happen when a veteran comes home and feels he or she has no one to speak to about experiences and life obstacles. During the summer of 2009, Sexton’s son Jacob committed suicide in a Muncie movie theater during his leave from serving in Afghanistan.

The Sextons believe their son suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, opting to keep his struggles to himself and eventually becoming overwhelmed by his emotions.

Jacob Sexton, soldier home on leave from Afghanistan shot himself inside a Muncie, Indiana, movie theater in 2009. His parents now advocate for veterans services in hopes to save other families from living through suicide.


They hope no family ever has to go through what they have. That’s why they believe the new veterans program created by Ivy Tech Community College and the Hoosier Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross is a step in the right direction.

“So many of these young men and women come home and are still in a military mindset,” Jeff Sexton said. “They don’t know what’s available for them, how to find work, where the social programs are. They just don’t know. Telling them can really make a difference. I wish something like this was around a few years ago.”

“The Ladder Up” program runs for two Saturdays, March 31 and a to-be-determined date in April, including veterans and their families in a healing process for returned serviceman.

After reading the news article “Veterans among growing homeless in Delaware County” in the Jan. 26 edition of The Star Press, Lee Ann Mengelt, outreach coordinator for the Hoosier Heartland Red Cross, began working with others to create a program to prevent servicemen from falling between the cracks.

“While I was reading that article, I found it appalling that there were Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who were homeless,” she said. “There are few jobs for them to come home to, but they also may feel they don’t know how to get them. And with the issues with PTSD, we had to do something.”

Read the rest of this story:
http://www.mysanantonio.com/default/article/Outreach-program-aims-to-help-returning-veterans-3426749.php

Watch video of Congressman Mike Pence on the floor of the U.S. House to pay tribute to Spc. Jacob Sexton:

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