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Nancy Biddle Brouwers

Family Fall Out By Nancy (Biddle) Brouwers You may be aware of the statistic that 22 Veterans die by suicide a day. That statistic in turn leaves 22 families a day left behind struggling and devastated. It is devastating to lose any Veteran. However, death by suicide leaves families not only devastated but also isolated. Many lose their emotional support systems. Most lose not only the immediate income of the Veteran but other financial support as well such as Life Insurance, health care, housing and other assistance depending on the place and time of the suicide. Many are afraid how others will react when they learn the lost was by suicide. Some feel like they don't have the right to grieve the same way others do. You feel less than...? You feel totally lost and not worthy of the support others receive. December 6, 2011, I was out running errands on my day off. On returning home I was met by my youngest son Chris. He asked, “What is the one thing Allen’s done that he can never forgive himself for?” An odd question but I thought hard trying to think of the events throughout Allen’s life. The only thing that came to mind was a service-related event. One of Allen’s team members died while Allen was not deployed with the team and maybe he had survivors’ guilt. I didn’t think much more about it as I put up groceries and started laundry. Of course, at the time I had not seen Allen’s last Facebook post. December 6, 2011 was Allen’s 39th birthday and only 18 months left till full retirement from the US Army, 10th Special Forces Green Beret Unit. I tried to reach him off and on throughout the day but no answer. With his job this was not too unusual. I knew it was a workday for him and they probable had an evening party planned. I would just get ahold of him tomorrow. That is the way of military life, you don’t necessarily celebrate on the holiday or event day, you celebrate when you can be together. In the past when we were able to talk the conversation went much like this, I would ask a question and he would say “I really can’t answer that”. He directed me when people ask, “Just tell them, ‘I’m doing what I love”. As I went to bed that night, I thought I’ll call again tomorrow when life is less hectic. At approximately 11:30 pm Chris knocked on my door with his cell phone in hand saying, “Dad wants to talk to you.” Blinking awake I thought what the heck. I don’t remember his exact words but something to the effect of “they found Allen alongside the road shot in the head”. I do however remember my scream. Confusion, disbelief, emotional and physical pain that I didn’t believe was possible. We spoke briefly, I have no recollection of what was said. Only that Dave had not been able to reach our daughter who was alone in Tacoma. And I needed to tell Chris who was still standing bewildered at the foot of my bed. We Know, we have suffered the grief, the self-blame that we were at fault and the loss of a loved one. We Know, we have felt friends shun us for not knowing what to say or do. We know, it takes a long time to heal and go forward. We Know, we have felt friends shun us for not knowing what to say or do. We know, it takes a long time to heal and go forward. We know, it is hard to ask for help. We know, that there are people willing to help. We know, we want to help. Do You Need: Do you need, a one-time bill paid? Do you or your children need, financial assistance to start or complete your education? Do you or your children need, assistance for a counselor? Can we sponsor your children/child to attend a grief camp? (Example: Veteran Run Camp, Knights Of Heroes, Colorado Springs, CO, Let us help. Contact the Foundation at: Thomas A Biddle Foundation P.O. Box 4141 Wenatchee, WA 98807 Or Phone: 509-860-3751 Dennis Phone: 509-860-1553 Nancy E-mail: FB: Thomas A Biddle Foundation How can the You help? Through families, friends and neighbors pass on to those Post 9/11 Veteran families that we are here to assist them. We want them to “SOAR” and “Let Nothing Hold You Back” Help us Help these families by doing fundraisers (auctions, bake sales, quilt sales, etc.) for the Thomas a Biddle Foundations.
Chris drove me to Tacoma to help me tell his sister in person that they had lost their brother. How he was able to do it I don’t know but thank god he could. We arrived about 3am and knocked on the door several times. What woman alone, not expecting anyone, would open their door at 3am. Chris remembered the hidden key and we let ourselves in as Melissa was coming down the hall. Of course, she knew something was dreadfully wrong. Frozen against the wall she kept saying “who is it, who is it. I kept asking her to come to the couch, but she couldn’t. I finally said “Allen”. We picked her up from the floor and got her to the couch. When she could speak, she cried “I thought he wasn’t supposed to be deployed again”. My heart was ripped out again as I told her Allen had died on American soil. In time we discovered that Allen had be dealing with PTSS. Had Allen died from physical wounds while deployed he would have been eligible for a variety of acknowledgments and memorials. However, his wife Lisa discovered that not only did he not qualify for these things, but she and the children were excluded from participating in functions or receiving help from most organizations and foundations. Lisa learned that most foundations either do not support families of military who die from suicide or limit the support given these families. She and Allen's children felt strongly that this void needed to be filled. Therefore, they established the Thomas A Biddle Foundation.</p>
We at the Thomas A. Biddle Foundation want kids to be able to define their futures and not be defined by their past. With the right heart, there will be the right motivation. Our goal at the Thomas A. Biddle Foundation (TAB) is to provide help and support to the children and families of fallen soldiers who suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS) and whose lives ended far too soon. By raising awareness about PTSS, and through the help of donations the Thomas A. Biddle Foundation has assisted with college funding and other expenses in families who have lost a loved one due to PTSS. Our organization is here to help families of soldiers that couldn't fight this deadly syndrome. The TAB Foundation is helping these children determine their own futures. (At the time of this writing) Five families have received scholarships, several children have attended camps and families have received immediate financial assistance to cover emergencies. And through our fundraising projects we strive to increase awareness of PTSS. For the Future. PTSS affects 1 out of 8 returning soldiers. Dreams and futures should not be hampered by lack of funds. Our soldiers gave their all to make things possible for us to live in freedom. We should do the same for their children left behind. We Know, firsthand what you are going through, for we have been there.

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