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Killeen veteran sheds light on military suicides with his nonprofit

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Posted at 1:54 PM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 14:54:39-04

KILLEEN, TX — In 2020, six Fort Hood soldiers took their own lives.

A Killeen man and retired veteran is calling for help from his community to bring awareness to suicide in the military with his nonprofit, Soldiers in Need.

Soldier 4TheLord is his name.

His goal?

To help soldiers with mental health problems, and to lower the suicide attempt rate in the military.

“If I come up with an organization, and it’s called Soldiers in Need,” 4theLord said. “Then maybe just helping a little bit would make a difference.”

His nonprofit was registered as 501(c)(3) last May.

“But the concept and helping people has been a journey,” he said.

According to a 2018 report done by the Department of Defense, suicide numbers within active duty members have been growing. Representatives said it’s a rate of 20-22 suicides a day.

“I know how hard it is; I’ve even had some of my old buddies commit suicide,” Ricardo Acosta, a volunteer said. “So, this is kind of really one of those really big things for me, and when God put me on this path with Soldier 4TheLord it’s kind of one of those things I thought I could help.”

4theLord battles mental health issues himself.

“My spiritual side was…'that's not the way to go,' you know my human side was 'I can't take this anymore,'” he said.

Soldier 4TheLord bought properties surrounding Fort Hood in an effort to fix them up and create spaces for soldiers to get away, but help is needed.

“It’s a matter of doing a little bit of outreach and reaching out to people who can volunteer,” Acosta said.

4TheLord told 25 News that his journey has been difficult, but his work is worth it.

”My goal is to help somebody else, and in turn it’s helping me,” he said, smiling.

He encourages community members to reach out if you are interested in contributing your time and efforts with his nonprofit.