From GoFundMe: New write-up as of today: Hi! My name is Precious. I’m the wife of Jason, a US Army veteran who did two tours in Iraq in 2003 and 2008.
Jason is a father of four. We have three kids together: Alanna, 5, Liberty, 3, and Charles, 2.
Jason went missing sometime overnight on Nov. 28/29. He appeared several hours later at his father’s house, in his hometown, where he got into some trouble during a psychotic break from undiagnosed mental illnesses he probably acquired during active duty.
For those of you who haven’t had a chance, please check out the Toronto Star article here and the CityNews video clip here . I haven’t had much time to keep this page updated. Partly because I’m so overwhelmed but also because I’m at a loss at how my husband’s case has progressed. Neither tells the full story and there are a few inconsistencies but, it will give you the general idea of the history of Jason’s case.
I micro-blog about him on Twitter and Facebook regularly and I’ve become a pretty outspoken advocate for the treatment of not only justice-involved veterans but mentally ill defendants going through the system. I’ve seen things that we only talk about but can’t seem to change. Once my husband’s case has concluded, I’ve definitely got some plans to try and see what we can do to address those flaws. But, that’s not what this page is about.
Whos is Jason?
Jason is a family man. Despite how coldly the court documents portray him, he has no history of violence. He is one of the kindest, most honest, trustworthy and funniest people you will ever meet. He did what he had to do when he was in Iraq but that is not who he was when he was home.
What happened was directly related to undiagnosed illnesses he acquired during active duty and as much as I appreciate all the help we’ve received through the justice system, things haven’t been easy.
Jason has been in and out of state custody since November. Every time his custody changes, his healthcare (both physical and mental) gets reset and we have to start over.
He’s been unable to work. He’s been unable to get to his VA compensation and pension exam, which would not only help investigate and treat his illnesses further, but would also help with some of the financial burden that his family has been under since this incident. He’s been unable to continue the amazing care the VA has been giving him.
PTSD and Paranoia
Even though we’ve known each other since we were teenagers, we didn’t become close until 2009, shortly after he was discharged from the army.
Looking back, there are things I remember that made me think something wasn’t quite right.
Our first apartment was in uptown Toronto, right on the subway line. I always remember that despite how regularly the train passed under our home, it took him several months to get accustomed. He did not like how it made our apartment shake. The noise always bothered him.
Our window was also just steps away from a main roadway where there was a major bus-stop. The sound of the vehicles going by sometimes made him jump.
He told me that crowded areas in Toronto reminded him of Baghdad and he would get jumpy on garbage day, when bags of trash would be by the sidewalk (he told me that insurgents would hide IEDs in garbage bags in Iraq). Bridges and underpasses made him nervous, as he said people would drop bombs from there in Iraq.
Over time, he seemed to have learned to cope although I did notice over time, he became increasingly paranoid.
We sought help several times over the years, even up to and including the night he “disappeared.” But I don’t think anyone really took us seriously. I think it’s partially a lack of understanding of how service affects the mental health of a veteran but largely also because his delusions weren’t debilitating. His fears were always things that were possible, but unlikely — like being watched by the government. It happens. But he probably wasn’t being surveilled. And at the end of the day, it didn’t stop him from leaving the house or going to work.
Why we need help
My husband’s case is ongoing. For the most part, with the help of family, we’ve been able to cover legal costs, however, it’s been really tough financially without Jason.
Those of you who know us well, know that the past few years have already been difficult for us.
My mom, Peachy, was diagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer while my step-dad, Dennis, lay in a coma for 8 months — in the same hospital (he later passed away peacefully). My mom has been in and out of remission. We believe her diet and the nutraceuticals she’s incorporated into her care played a huge role in helping her battle this horrible disease. Because my mom was gravely ill when my step-dad died, it was Jason and I who planned and paid for his funeral.
Nowadays, we struggle just finding enough money for gas to go down to Ohio to visit Jason, take him to his appointments (when he’s out on bond), attend his court hearings, etc.
He also has a son from a previous marriage, who we financially support.
We run our own business. My mom, step-dad, Jason and I all worked together on this project. Basically, there used to be four of us working and now there’s just me.
Any help would be appreciated. It’s not for Jason’s legal costs. It would go towards things like:
-Child support for his eldest son
-Gas money for our trips to and from Ohio
-Groceries for the kids (including diapers)
-Clothing (the kids grow quickly!)
Even if you’re unable to provide help financially, people have offered help in other ways:
-Food donations (people have brought us gift cards, hot meals and even boxes of dry goods)
-Gift cards for groceries (i.e. Walmart)
-Second-hand clothing for the kids
-Bottles of water (purified or distilled water — no spring water due to dietary restrictions)
Right now, I’m looking for a chest of drawers for the kids (new or used) as I bought a cheap one from Canadian Tire that just fell apart on me. I can’t afford to replace it at the moment but I will drive outside the city to pick one up! If you know someone who has one they’d like me to take off their hands, I’ll go and get it! 🙂
I also want to thank the communty for the contiuous love and support, both financially and emotionally.
You have all been amazing. Thank you for the hot meals, the Christmas presents for the kids, the giftcards, the dry goods, the clothing — everything.