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Noah's Story

Since a young age, there was only one man that I tried to emulate and that was my father. While other kids my age had heroes like Ken Griffey Jr. or Carson Palmer, my hero has always been my dad, Chip Terry. Growing up I always heard the same lines coming from my dad, “Noah tuck your shirt in,” “Stick up for the little guy,” “Noah are you going to be a leader or a follower?” I heard these lines on a daily basis and I grew very tired of hearing them, but now I know that those little things my dad said and did are what shaped me into the man I am today. Growing up, drinking in my family was a regular occurrence. It was normal to see my dad have a beer or two after a long day. As the years passed, I too was right there with my dad, drinking a few beers and discussing our days. I never saw how much drinking truly impacted my dad until we would have too much to drink and he would tell me the real reason behind his drinking. He would tell me that he was drinking to forget the faces of children he had put in body bags, or the catastrophic car accidents he responded to. He would drink to forget all the horrific things he had seen in his long career as a fire fighter. Post-Traumatic Stress is something you hear about but never fully comprehend. No one realized that PTS was what my dad was suffering from. I never did pick up on those little warning signs over the years. While I was gone it was normal to get a call or a text from my dad just wanting to check in and see how things were going. As time went by those calls and texts became more frequent, saying how he wished I would call more and just talk. I never realized that it was a cry for help. On Friday September 15, 2017, I was in Virginia doing a training exercise. That day had started like every other day had in the field, gear accountability, breakfast, and then a whole lot of waiting around. Later that afternoon, I received a message from my Commanding Officer telling me to round up my guys and make our way back to his position. As we got closer, I could see my CO and the Chaplin walking toward us. They pulled me aside and told me they received a Red Cross message and that my dad had passed away. After calling my mom I sat in the woods for over an hour until I heard a voice in the back of my head, “Noah are you going to be a leader of a follower”. I know that I will never fully grasp why my dad took his own life. Post-Traumatic Stress changes a person in ways that no one, except those going through it, can understand. Looking back over the last several years of my dad’s life, I see how PTS changed him and I can only hope that his death will advocate and encourage others to seek help before it’s too late.

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