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    Posted February 28, 2014 by
    Katy, Texas
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Salute to troops

    Helping Our Family's Hero, Chris fullfill what he called a "2nd Call To Duty"

    My nephew and our family's hero would have turned 24 on Jan 27th, 2014 but sadly ended his life on November 22nd, 2014. He was such a WONDERFUL BIG HEARTED young man. WE are all still so devastated by all of this. Chris enlisted at 17 and served his country so proudly as a United States Marine RESERVIST who was called to active duty. He received a purple heart from a blast he was involved in one week before he was to return home. We believe he suffered a traumatic brain injury along with PTSD. He tried for 2 years to readjust to society.He tried to get help. (Do you know that 22 young vets per day are taking their lives??) His 10 and 14 year old brothers and 19 year old sister all looked up to him so much. Chris had contacted a navy medic who served in Afghanistan with him and who after returning went on a hike to help himself readjust. This young medic who is also a child hood cancer survivor, decided he would start a nonprofit for cancer survivors by providing college funds with a hike through the entire Appalachian Mountains (2100 miles) Chris wanted to join Michael on this journey. He wanted to be a part of something that would help others while helping himself. He will not get to realize this "2nd Call to Duty" as he called it. The hike is going to take place as planned in April with several marines and friends taking legs of the hike in Chris' place. It should take about 5 months. I want to help my sister through her grieving process and honor Chris' memory by hosting a benefit here in Katy ( a suburb of Houston) to raise money for the cause and to bring awareness to the 22 per day suicide rate of our young veterans suffering from PTSD. I really want to get the word out there. I want this to be such a great success for my sister and her family who live in Corpus. It has been so HARD and SO SAD for me as well, from the moment I received the call here at school on that horrible Friday to driving to be with my little sister, to helping plan the funeral to dealing with his sister and her anger and even now, three months later. It was such a great loss. I want to tell the world about Chris. I've never done anything like this in my life. I just really want it to be a success. Chris wanted to help make a difference. He just couldn't hold on to see it through. Our event is scheduled for here in Houston on March 29th. Michael the medic is actually from the Houston area. We met him when he phoned to ask if he could speak at Chris' funeral. It's amazing how many people Chris touched while on this Earth. We want him to be able to reach even more in his death. I don't want his or his family's sacrifice to go unnoticed. My heart is breaking now just writing this to you. Please help us tell his story so that we can help support the cause that he had planned to take part in. Thanks so much for your time.

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