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Local counselor shares advice after soldier dies by suicide at Fort Cavazos

Fort Cavazos death
Posted at 4:18 PM, May 28, 2024

FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — Another soldier at Fort Cavazos has died by suicide, according to the service member's father.

This is a problem that plagues Fort Cavazos and other military installations nationwide.

25 News’ Senior Reporter Lauren Adams spoke to a local counselor, who says if you are having suicidal thoughts, you don't have to face it alone.

Private First-Class Hunter Purcell died by suicide on May 14 while stationed at Fort Cavazos.

Central Texas neighborhood counselor Dallas Smeltser weighs in on what he might have been going through.
"It’s hard to tell what is going though minds," Smeltser said.

"Sometimes if they want to go through with it, they won’t tell anyone.”

Purcell’s family laid him to rest Tuesday, a day after Memorial Day, with full military honors.

Purcell joins a long list of soldiers who have taken their own life.

In the Army, 30 active-duty soldiers die by suicide for every 100,000 service members — 22 veterans die by suicide daily in the United States.

"'Most people have had those thoughts sometime in their life," Smeltser said.

"My main message is anyone who is feeling depressed or suicidal thoughts is ,I always do my best to tell them how important it is to not be alone.”

Suicide can impact people in all walks of life.

Over the weekend, 30-year-old professiknal golfer Grayson Murray died by suicide, following reports that he suffered from depression and alcoholism.

“They can’t be alone — being alone can be very dangerous," Smeltser said.

"People make bad decisions when they’re alone and if they don't have that support — even if they don't feel like talking."

Just remember, it’s not a weakness to ask for help.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call the suicide and crisis lifeline at 9-8-8.