Our Documentary "Echoes from Afghanistan"
Warrior Research Foundation (WRF) is raising awareness about the continuing rise of veteran suicide and conducting research to support suicide prevention. Our veterans are facing challenging issues coming back from past deployments and are finding that it is difficult to attain the support they need to overcome the mental and physical obstacles they are confronting. WRF is a non-profit organization that seeks to research, advocate, and provide direct service support to our veterans.
WRF and Special Affects produced "Echoes from Afghanistan” a documentary film that features Hank Goff, Delfino Martinez, Jr., Sonny Hutchinson, Paul Reimund, and Jimmy Grimes from Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines (2/7), who deployed to Afghanistan from 2008– 2009. Goff, who is featured in this documentary film, was presented with the 2015 Disney Spirit Award on ESPN for being an inspiration and mentor to multiple veterans and a survivor of posttraumatic stress disorder. This feature also includes footage with Mark Geletko SgtMaj (ret.), who served in the Marine Corps for 27 years, he deployed six times within his career, he was attached to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, and he spent his last years as SgtMaj of Headquarters Battalion at 29 Palms.
This particular battalion was engaged in heavy combat from the time they landed in country. It is said by many that Echo Company, 2/7, was “the hardest hit battalion in the Corps that year.” During 2/7’s mission in Afghanistan, 20 men were killed and 160 were wounded, 30 of which were amputees.
Since their return from Afghanistan, this unit has lost a staggering number of 29 Marines to suicide. “Echoes from Afghanistan” is the story about the impact of war on the human spirit and how these five friends, these Marines, continue to find support in one another, how they have found purpose in their lives, and how they refuse to be a statistic to suicide.
This documentary allows these Marines to share their experiences about this very impactful time in their lives and it allows us to learn how we can best support veterans returning from combat while helping to raise awareness about the impact of veteran suicide.
WRF and Special Affects started this documentary project as a result of the continued increase in veteran suicides over the past two decades and the constant news reports about the number of active, separated, and retired military, who continue to take their lives at a staggering rate. We decided the best way to bring awareness to the issue is to allow veterans to tell their stories, so that we may hear what they have to say and learn how we can be of support to them. We are very familiar with the numbers related to increased veteran suicide within the past decade, but now it's time to listen to their stories. Their stories will allow us to be better informed about their condition and what their specific needs are and how we can help support the urgent needs of our veterans.
Our organization hosted an event on August the 6th to show this documentary in the DC area. Our goals was to get the Marines/veterans involved with this documentary, eight to be exact, to Crystal City, VA, for the preview of the documentary and to allow these Marines to physically bond with each other. The majority of the time, these Marines are meeting at the funerals of a Marine peer, from their unit, who has taken their own life.
For WRF, our motto is “suicide is not an option, it is not a solution.” These men feel the same way and have volunteered to participate in this documentary to educate and support other veterans being challenged by mental health issues. These Marines and the supportive group that they have formed and continue to nurture can serve as a model for active, separated, and retired military veterans, who are struggling to overcome their challenges. These Marines want veterans to know that they are not alone in their struggles.
This was a very special bonding opportunity for these veterans. They continue to rely on the support of one another to this day. Please help us to support these outstanding veterans. This was the first of many events WRF will have to support our veterans.
Adhering to our mission, it is our goal to provide mechanisms to support quality education and clinical research with the goal of improving overall health of our veterans and their families. We are excited to continue to develop relationships with folks in the non-profit, government, and for-profit sectors to enhance research focused on the needs of the active, separated, and retired military members, and to create programs that are sustainable and easily accessible.
Thank you for your support!