Not all battles are fought on the battlefield. Many of our service members and first responders are fighting a war within themselves. Always be kind to others as not all wounds are visible. You never know what someone may be going through or how something as simple as a smile, a kind word or a helping hand can change their day for the better. If you are struggling, please know that suicide is NOT the answer. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Please reach out! You ARE worth it! Suicide crisis line 988. Please see our resources page for additional resource listings.
On this page, we are sharing some of our heroes and their stories. Thank you to the families of these men and women for being open about how their loved ones died and helping us to bring awareness to the epidemic of suicide that currently plagues our military and veterans.
A special thank you to Lori Egerter and The Tree of Valor for all of the work you do to honour our heroes, both past and present. We are honoured to be able to work with you to help share this very important message. No one fights alone.
SN Jack Lewis Perdue, Jr.
2 May 1970 - 14 January 2014
From a young age, Lewis loved planes, so how he ended up in the USCG Reserves instead of the USAF, I'll never know! Lewis was dyslexic and had a difficult time reading and spelling. In an effort to get him to read, his mother offered him whatever he wanted. What he wanted was a tour of the local airport and he got it! In addition to playing High School Soccer, Lewis was also a member of the Civil Air Patrol.
While in college, Lewis joined the USCG Reserves. He was called up to serve during the Persian Gulf War. He was frustrated that he was expected to guard an ammunition depot with nothing but his service pistol.
Even after college and leaving the reserves, Lewis continued to serve the military. He worked for a company that did satellite mapping for our troops. Living in Satellite Beach, FL for many years, he enjoyed watching rocket launches from his back yard.
Lewis left behind a beautiful, loving wife and two teenage sons. a twin brother, a sister and his mother. His suicide prompted his sister to get involved with volunteer work through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In the Fall of 2020, she started the Angels With Demons group in an effort to help our heroes who are struggling with their mental health.
Sgt. Reid R. Holshouser
15 May 1991 ~ 17 June 2017
Reid graduated in 2009 from Hillsboro High School where he played 4 years of football. After graduation he attended Lincoln Land Community college and graduated with an Associate's degree in criminal justice.
Reid joined the USMC in 2011 and served in Security Forces at Kings Bay, Ga. He was then stationed at 29 Palms with 2nd Battalion 7th Marines where he deployed to Kuwait/Iraq.
After his discharge in 2016, Reid attended the University of Alabama where he was majoring in Criminal justice.
In June 2017 Reid lost the battle with his demons. Most of his friends at University of Alabama were ex-military and they told Reid's parents that they never saw his suicide coming as Reid was always smiling and in good spirits.
Sgt. Terry D. Fick
12 June 1993 - 17 August 2015
US Army - 82nd Airborne, 10th SFG
Terry was from Grand Junction, CO. After graduating High School, Terry joined the Army.
"Terry was stationed at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina. He deployed to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012 and then again to Africa in 2015. During his dedication to his country he was honored with two Army Commendations Medals, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon and his NATO medal. During his final days was promoted to Sergeant."
Terry is greatly missed by his military family. They would like to remind you that if you feel that something is "off", then it probably is. Check on your fellow warriors - they need you more than you'll ever know.
PFC. Zacharay T. Arsenault
19 November 1998 - 1 April 2019
At the time of his death, Zach was serving in the Army at Ft. Irwin CA. Zach passed away at 20 yrs old. He was the oldest of 4 boys.
Zach graduated high school in 2017 where he was learning to be a plumber, While in the Army he was a tank driver 19K M1 Armor crewmen. Zach loved to drive fast cars, spend time with his family, and fishing.
In Zach's circle of friends, he was the guy everyone went to for advice or a shoulder to lean on.
Evangelos "Andy" Baldoumas
26 February 1971 - 18 (?) September 2022
Andy was an AH1 Cobra Mechanic in the Army.
Andy struggled with PTSD and was dealing with personal issues and began self-medicating. Some of his military brothers formed a chat to try to help Andy and save him from his demons. Unfortunately, they were unable to do so. It is not known for certain whether Andy's death was intentional or accidental.
Andy is very much missed by his brothers.
If you are struggling, please know that it is okay not to be okay. Things will get better and your friends and family will never be the same if you leave this earth by your own hand. Your story isn't over; please stay.
David Charles "Bill Dave" Phillips
7 June 1966 - 27 November 2007
"Bill Dave", as he was affectionately known by his military family, was from Texas. An AH1 Cobra Mechanic in the Army, "Bill Dave" went on to be an aircraft mechanic after leaving the service.
In addition to working on aircraft, "Bill Dave" enjoyed drawing and woodworking.
At the time of his death, "Bill Dave" was living in Texas and left behind his parents, a son, a brother and three sisters.
SPC Nickolas Jaeson Maner
5 May 1991 - 30 October 2017
Originally from Denton, NC, Nick joined the Army straight out of high school. Six months after basic training, Nick was deployed to Afghanistan. He came back from that deployment a changed man.
After getting out of the Army, Nick struggled to find his way. He ended up moving to NV with some of his military brothers and got a job with the state. While Nick's family thought he was doing well during their visit with him in August of 2017, they realized just a few short months later that he was hiding his struggles from them. Nick took his own life on 30 October 2017.
Nick's mother, Stephanie, works tirelessly to help bring awareness to the epidemic of military suicide. She works with suicide prevention groups and is a mentor for T.A.P.S.
Please see the link below to learn more about how Stepahnie is working to keep her son's memory alive.
Benjamin Aaron Phillips
11 March 1988 - 12 July 2019
US Army, US Navy Reserves
Benjamin lost his battle with PTSD. We will have more on his story soon.
CPL James Dalton Kilgallon
28 October 1994 - 27 February 2019
Dalton was from Belleville, IL. He grew up in a family filled with military members from various branches.
Just a few short months after leaving the Marines, Dalton, struggling with his PTS, took his own life.
I think Dalton's dad said it best in this post about his son...
"I am still in and out of time. One week ago, Wednesday, February 27, 2019, my 24 year old son paid the ultimate price to a killer of our veterans, active military, and First Responders. Post Traumatic Stress. My son was diagnosed as a PTS sufferer before he was discharged last June 2018, after five years of service to this beloved country. If there is a valid working support system in the VA for our servicemen and servicewomen, it is not very well briefed to veterans entering the system seeking health. This needs to change. On average, 20-22 US veterans take their own life every day. This number is probably lower than the truth because the stat comes from only about half the states that have a reporting system to delineate veterans from other cases. In reading, I have found the incidence of PTS and suicide among our First Responders is also increasing.
We buried James on one of the coldest days of this year, Monday, 4 March 2019. It was as difficult, even more so, than I thought it would be when I wrote the following on the 1st of March:
“Please bear with me as I write this. I dislike social media as an emotional outlet as I tend to be a private person, but I need to let this out.
Monday I will be a personal participant in a military funeral. My second in my life. The first time I heard the presentation words with the phrase, “On behalf of…a grateful nation…” was at James R. Kilgallon’s funeral on January 5, 1996. My father. He was a 27-year veteran of the US Navy and served in three conflicts. My 14 month old son, James D. Kilgallon was there as well but never got the chance to know his grandfather.
The funeral I am attending Monday is for my now 24 year old son. Yes, James D. Kilgallon, a Marine Corps veteran with six years of service to this nation and its citizens, will be laid to rest. I will again hear those words spoken as the US flag is presented to his loving mother, herself an Army veteran. My throat will constrict, my chest will tighten as I fight my tears while Taps is played. My heart will be filled with both pride and profound sadness, as it is even now. I am proud of the man he became. Proud of the dedication he showed in serving. He loved the Marines. He is a Marine.
Now it gets harder. Many of you know the service my family has rendered. Besides my father, son and his mom, there are others. My sister is a US Air Force veteran. My brother and his spouse-both US Navy veterans. James’ maternal grandfather-a US Army veteran. My son’s half brother-also a Marine veteran. Myself-16 years in the US Air Force. It’s what we do. I’m proud of that too.
I am ashamed though, saddened and angry, at how difficult it is for a veteran in this country to get the benefits and help that veteran needs when the need is greatest. I tried to help and watched as his mom fought the VA for years to get both the help and compensation she needs for her disabilities. Finally resorting to paying an outside agency to represent her in her fight for the proper determination of her disabilities.
James struggled with the VA for nearly the whole eight months between his discharge in June 2018 until he left us eternally on February 27, 2019. He initially had faith in the system but it ignored his requests for help, both physical and mental. Long lines and waiting periods to fill out forms, delays in processing. He went seeking help for a mental disorder and was given a physical… He never really complained to me about his frustration but I hear it, see it, now. Too late. I know, ultimately, it was his decision. If he had gotten the help he expected, the care this government basically promised him, would he have chosen a different path? Maybe, maybe not, but it is an answer I and my family will never know. And it is that for which I will never forgive and never forget.
James, know that I have and always will love you, my son. My Marine. Be at peace and with God, your troubles are over.”
Sgt. Alan Cedillo
18 June 1988 - 8 August 2012
From Odessa, TX, Alan was in the Army Reserves and was a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan. Alan was a huge fan of the Dallas Cowboys.
Alan was very smart, outgoing and was always smiling. Alan has a large family who miss him very much. The family holds a charity golf tournament each year. The purpose of the tournament is to raise funds for help with PTSD for veterans and first responders. The proceeds H.O.R.S.E. Center Inc. of Midland, TX.
For more about equine therapy for veterans and first responders, please check the link below.
TSGT. Derek Thomas Millman
17 November 1992 - 29 March 2023
USAF Air National Guard
Derek joined the military in March 2012. He worked in Financial Management and Budget Analysis. He was known for his ability to lead, mentor and selfless work ethic.
He had a great sense of humor. Derek loved the Chargers and University of Arizona Basketball.
Derek leaves behind a wife, 2 young daughters, a brother and his parents.
Derek’s family and wonderful friends truly miss him.