OLYMPIA, Wash. - It’s been more than 35 years, but Todd Dearinger is still bothered by his friend’s suicide.
“I had my buddy’s brain splattered all over me. I don’t talk about that too much,” said Dearinger, who was in the Army when his friend killed himself in front of him.
Last week Dearinger tried to kill himself.
“It’s a struggle,” said Dearinger, who said he battles post-traumatic stress disorder from his four-year career in the Army in the 1970’s.
Dearinger’s suicidal thoughts got him involved with the “Twenty22Many” veteran’s group, based in Olympia.
Founder Patrick Seifert, a Marine Corps veteran who has PTSD from sexual abuse as a child, said the group wants to raise awareness about the estimated 22 veterans a day who kill themselves in the U.S.
Seifert said medical marijuana helps him get through his hard days.
Members of “Twenty22Many” want the state and federal government to make it easier for veterans to get access to medical cannabis.
But Seifert also said citizens can do a better job caring for veterans in their community.
“Call a veteran. Tell him he’s loved, he’s special and important,” Seifert told a crowd on the Capitol steps, “That phone call could save their life, you don’t know.”
About one hundred demonstrators marched on the state Capitol campus on Friday, July 22 to honor the estimated 22 suicides a day.