Wendy Meyers’ son Brandon wanted one thing in life: To be a Marine.
Once he graduated from high school in Plainfield, Illinois, Brandon immediately enlisted and soon deployed to Iraq for nine months. He briefly returned home and then returned to Iraq for 19 months.
When he came home a second time, in 2012, Meyers knew something was deeply wrong with her son. “My husband woke up one night and heard him on the roof,” she told Fox 17, “He went out and talked to him, and he was doing sniper duty in the middle of the night on our roof. He never left Iraq.”
Brandon sought help from the VA, who judged him 70 percent disabled due to PTSD. The VA prescribed him medication and gave him counseling via teleconference. Still, things weren’t improving. Meyers said that Brandon told her, “When he died, just scatter his dust back in Iraq, because that’s where he died anyway.”
Sadly, Brandon took his own life in June 2013, becoming one of the estimated 22 veterans a day who commit suicide.
Meyers has turned her grief into a new mission. She aims to start a charity called Bubba’s Dogs for Warriors, which will provide service animals to veterans suffering from PTSD — a treatment she thinks might have helped her son better than the therapy he did receive. “We have lost more men and women to suicide than the wars themselves from start to today,” she told Brad Edwards of CBS 2 Chicago. “We can help. Every penny and dollar we give can save a life. They have done this for us. Let’s not forget.”
Meyers launched a GoFundMe campaign with the target of raising $30,000 to fund two service animals. So far, she’s collected more than $7,000. On the page Meyers writes, “We’ve poured our broken hearts into research and found the highest degree of treatment success can come in the form of a constant companion — a dog, a service dog. Training these PTSD dogs is expensive, up to $15,000 each. In our son’s memory, we’d like to save lives.” She notes that service animals are not covered by the VA, which is why so many nonprofits are stepping up to provide them.
Brandon achieved his goal of becoming a Marine; now, his mother works toward her mission of helping her late son’s comrades. If you’re interested in helping Meyers hit her target, click here.