NAMPA -- On Wednesday, the Ada County Coroner confirmed that an airman from Mountain Home Air Force Base committed suicide. The airman was found in a parked car at the Boise Factory Outlet Mall off of Eisenman Road. This is the second service member who has committed suicide this week. This, again, reminds us of the tremendous sacrifice made by the men and women in uniform, and the battles they fight outside of the arena of war.
A Treasure Valley veteran has created an organization to help veteran's combat issues after leaving the military. Warrior Pointe meets at a Nampa church every Monday night, and the chief executive office is Reed Pacheco, who is a veteran.
"I dealt with a lot of my trauma and stuff that I went through during the military," said Pacheco. “I started drinking and used that to cover my emotions and what I was going through.”
Pacheco was a Blackhawk Crew Chief in the Army in from 1990 to 1996. He said he came close to suicide after leaving the military, but he was able to get help at the Boise VA.
“We did the group classes, and after the classes were over, I felt myself slipping back into that grip,” Pacheco said.
The U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs says in 2010, 22 veterans committed suicide every day.
“It's an astounding rate, and it's a shame,” said Pacheco.
Pacheco said the thing that helped him the most after leaving the Army was talking with other veterans. “We're all veterans. We've all been down that road. We've all had these same thoughts, and that's what we're here for.”
That is what gave him the idea to start Warrior Pointe in December 2012. Now, the group has thousands of fans on Facebook. Through his work with Warrior Pointe, Pacheco has been able to help some of those vets.
"I've dealt with over 80 active suicidal veterans and active duty military personnel,” Pacheco said.
Pacheco said social media has been a key to expanding their organization. They now have Warrior Pointe chapters in Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas, to name a few. The organization also works with Battle in Distress to connect with veterans in need.
He also says there is a bond among veterans that allows them to help their fellow veterans in a special way.
"Not only are we helping them, but they're helping us. There's a healing, if you will, that goes on when you're helping a fellow war fighter going through their troubles, because nine times out of 10 you're feeling a lot of the same stuff that they are,” said Pacheco.
If you need help, call the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. The VA also has a 24-hour hotline, specifically for vets at 208-422-1000.
The Boise Veterans Administration is hosting a suicide prevention seminar. Suicide Prevention in Action is a free seminar on September fourth at the Summit Church. Seating is limited and preregistration is required. Contact Sarah Kearney at firstname.lastname@example.org.