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Veteran shares journey to combating PTSD and preventing suicide

(KTVL/ Kimberly Kolliner)

The Veteran’s Administration estimates 22 veterans take their own lives every day.

In Oregon alone a veteran takes their life every three days.

Saturday organizations across the nation are going to partake in Veteran Suicide Prevention Day.

Veterans too will come together to lift each other up, one of which is Donnie Farmer of Grants Pass.

"Some people are artists and some people are merchants and some people are soldiers and in my family we chose that ladder route," said Farmer.

Farmer comes from a proud family of veterans, he himself served 16 years in seven different deployments for the U.S. Marine Corps.

But with the pride of serving comes the inevitable trauma of loss during war.

"Seven years ago, before I quit drinking, I was right there, I was ready to go. I didn't want to be here anymore. I didn't see any end of it," said Farmer.

Today he's a water rafting and zip-line instructor but it took a long journey to get there.

Farmer says putting the bottle down and tapping into his emotions was his first step forward.

However, then he was stalled with doctors who wrongly diagnosed those feelings with anger management, until he met a doctor who knew first-hand what it was like to be in Rawa, Iraq.

"We lost eight people on that deployment. It was a very rough deployment. He read my record jacket and saw that I was there at the time and then started naming names and I started kind of shaking. And he was like yeah, you're not mad you just haven't processed what's going on," said Farmer.

The right guidance, like the kind Farmer gives to his tours, and knowing quitting isn't an option is what he says will put a stop to the loss of our veterans.

"Regardless of how you might feel about yourself, somebody out there is looking up to you…everybody has somebody that's looking to them for that example and I think if you can really grasp on to that and remember that it's not just about you, it's about the tribe as a whole," said Farmer.

Still there's so much more to Farmer's story.

You can hear it first-hand Friday at the Josephine County Fairgrounds Veteran Suicide Prevention Awareness Event.

He'll be speaking there at 10 a.m.

And if you can't make it to that, Farmer also blogs about his experiences to provide relief.

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