Last week was an incredibly hard week. I was at work in the ER and we were pretty busy. My cell phone rang and I saw that it was my My buddy Ricardo. I wasn’t going to answer it because we were swamped, but something in my gut told me to. So I answered it, and what he said felt like he reached through the phone and drop kicked me in the gut. If you don’t know, Ricardo is a big jokester. But I knew right away that this wasn’t one of those times.
He told me that “Kevin killed himself.” I was stunned, in disbelief. For one of the very few times in my life, I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say. Kevin, Cory and I deployed together in 2001. We were close, even though we didn’t speak often. But in true military/veteran fashion, we always picked up right where we left off, like no time had passed.
Kevin was a husband, a father. A Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy. A warrior and brother to many. Kevin had deployed multiple times with the Marines as a “Doc” and with Naval Special Warfare as an Independent Duty Corpsman. He was one tough dude, but had a heart of gold. Kevin Loved being a Chief. I can’t even imagine the pain that he was suffering or the demons that he was dealing with. I can’t say enough good about him. Even in death, he is leaving his mark on the world.
Ricardo has founded the KB1 Foundation in Kevin’s honor. Our goal for this foundation is three-fold. One, we obviously want to raise awareness for veteran suicide. Secondly, we want to provide an outlet in the way of Jiu Jitsu for those suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) while simultaneously providing the necessary skill set for leaders to effectively communicate with the at risk population. Lastly, the money raised will be utilized to make training little to no cost for those that qualify and are in need.
There is more to come, as we are in the infancy stage of getting the Foundation off the ground. If you want to donate, or get involved, please follow the Facebook page at KB1 Foundation. The Website will be up soon.