Army veteran talks losing friends to suicide and ‘Mission 22’

Local News

BERGEN, NY (WROC-TV) Former Army combat engineer Patrick Kimball deployed to Mosul, Iraq twice. Once at the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom and again at the start of Operation New Dawn. 

“So, we didn’t do a lot of the ‘hearts and minds’ stuff. We were literally just looking for bombs. We were just out there trying to find the bad guys and get after it.”

With daily detonations, getting wounded in combat, and earning a Purple Heart, a decade later in Bergen, Kimball reflects on the Iraq War.

“Well, we spent a lot of time, talent and treasure and didn’t get a whole lot in return,” he says.

And the losses continued after coming home. Seven of the men Kimball deployed with committed suicide. Some with guns, others with extreme use of drugs and alcohol. For Kimball, there’s no easy answer as to why.  

“You think about what you could have done to help. It’s not a one-solution type of problem,” he says.

It’s something reflected in the national polls that estimate about 22 veterans a day commit suicide. Kimball decided to take action and help prevent veteran suicide by joining Mission 22, a program that takes a holistic approach to healing. 

“They’re involved with getting dogs, like service dogs to veterans. They’re involved with getting people into Ju-Jit-Su and fitness type classes to get treatment through those means,” he says.

It also links veterans with the right medical providers for their condition. Kimball tells his fellow veterans don’t seek a permanent solution for a temporary problem. Give Mission 22 a chance. 

“It is not a sign of weakness to tell somebody that you need help,” he says.

Kimball adds if your emotional load is too heavy, don’t wait, reach out. If you’re in a crisis, call the veteran suicide hotline at 800-273-8255. 

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