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Invisible Wounds of War

Richard E. Holmes II Memorial Foundation’s goal to help veterans adjust to civilian life
Special to The Columbus Packet

Richard and Judie Holmes of Columbus don’t want another parent to have to deal with the wound of war that devastated their family. On July 29, 2011, their son, 28-year-old Richard E. Holmes II, died from a drug overdose.  Richard II was an eight-year veteran of the United States Army and a student at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. He was a third-generation veteran.  His maternal grandfather served during World War II and his father during the Vietnam Era and the First Gulf War.
After eight years of military service, Richard II returned home to pursue his second love: Film/Movie Production. Before he enrolled at Full Sail University, he disclosed to his family that he had been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as his problem with drug addiction. At that point, Richard II entered an inpatient rehabilitation center, completed the program in four months, and enrolled in school.  Just one year later, he lost his battle and became a part of the growing statistics of suicides and self-inflicted fatalities of U.S. servicemen.
After doing extensive research and learning of the alarming numbers of active duty and veteran suicide incidents, his family knew they were not alone in their grief. They knew they had to do something. While doing their research they found a most startling fact: more United States military personnel have died by suicide since the War in Afghanistan began, than have died fighting there.
On November 11, 2011, four months after their son’s death, they established the Richard E. Holmes II Memorial Foundation Inc. Its main function is be to be a safety net for those patriots who return home and may be ill-equipped to  successfully re-integrate into civilian society.  The Foundation strives to enhance the quality of life for veterans by providing support services and resources.  They believe that prompt delivery and availability of services and resources will positively impact lives and ultimately, the community.  The services of the Foundation do not, by any means, duplicate or supplement the services of the Veterans Affairs Administration. They want to help provide for servicemen and women during their initial year of transition– before financial compensation begins– a safety net of gratitude for their services.
The Holmes hope that by sharing their story they can get more support for this Foundation that is a labor of love for their family. On Sunday, May 26th at 2:00pm the Inaugural Veteran’s Memorial Walk/Run will occur at the Columbus Riverwalk.  Registered individuals and teams will raise funds for the Foundation. To register a team or for more information please call (662) 889-0180  or (662) 244-0324 by phone or by email at grandholmes@yahoo.com.

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