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(LISTEN): Veteran suicide issue highlighted in address at Columbia College

(LISTEN): Veteran suicide issue highlighted in address at Columbia College

All Secure Foundation co-founders Tom and Jen Satterly spoke at the recent military appreciation event at Columbia College (May 17, 2024 photo from 939 the Eagle’s Brian Hauswirth)

A decorated veteran who now lives in St. Louis and fought in real-life in the battle portrayed in the Oscar-award winning movie “Black Hawk Down” says he contemplated suicide multiple times in the past.

All Secure Foundation co-founder Tom Satterly and his wife Jen Satterly were the guest speakers at Columbia College’s recent military appreciation day event. Ms. Satterly tells the audience that 89 percent of military veterans who commit suicide do so after a family incident. Tom Satterly tells 939 the Eagle that it’s important for veterans to say they need help.

“I think they feel like it’s an injury they don’t want to admit to because they’ll lose their job, they’ll lose their position or they’ll lose their security clearance. So the answer is ‘how are you doing today’, the answer is ‘I’m perfectly fine’ right because if not, you’re going to get pulled out. And that’s the one thing you want to do so we’re really setting them up to injure themselves throughout their career,” Satterly says.

In addition to focusing on the veteran suicide issue, Mr. Satterly also urged the audience to put family first, noting he has three ex-wives and could not connect with his son:

“If you can’t connect with your children, just lay down on the floor and let them climb over the top of you just to be present. That’s all they want is to know that you’re there,” says Satterly.

Tom Satterly spent 20 years with Delta Force and earned numerous medals, including the Silver Star and four Bronze stars. Mr. Satterly also discussed the veteran suicide issue openly, and credits his now-wife for saving his life for sending a text to him one day to check on him.

Donations to the St. Louis-based All Secure Foundation are currently down 82 percent, according to Mr. Satterly. He cites the economy. The foundation assists the U.S. military’s special operations active duty and combat veterans and their families in recovering from post-traumatic stress. He spoke to more than 100 people at the recent Columbia College event, and was joined by his wife and fellow co-founder Jen Satterly:

“So All Secure Foundation serves special operation war fighters and their families in healing from combat trauma and secondary trauma. We do that through five licensed clinical social workers who coach our amazing war fighters for completely free though All Secure Foundation. We hold major events throughout the country throughout the year for our special operation couples to reconnect and to heal,” Ms. Satterly says.

Mr. and Mrs. Satterly describes PTS as an injury.

Columbia College also honored the nation’s military at the ceremony, along with staff, faculty, students, alumni and friends who have served.