MILITARY MATTERS: Gold Star Mom in GA and Her Non-Profit Trying to Prevent Veteran Suicides

Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 7:10 PM EDT
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RAY CITY, Ga. (WTVM) - A total of 22 veterans per day die by their own hands, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. A Georgia mother has made it her life mission to never lose another veteran to suicide.

Laura Busbin’s son, Jon, took his own life in 2017. “Jon was an amazing father, son, husband,” she said.

Since then, every year, Laura has hosted an event in Berrien County, just east of Albany GA, to bring gold star families together, honor the struggles of solders post-deployment, and ultimately to help lower the number of suicides.

“The love and support people feel when they come here to South Georgia. We’ve had people in the past from Michigan and other states come down. Everyone here is so supportive,” Laura Busbin said.

“It’s so close to our son’s first anniversary to be here with other families who have gone through the same thing that we did,” Joy Kubot said.

Kevin and Joy Kubot came from Minnesota to this event in Ray City, Georgia. Their son, Wesley, served in Iraq 15 years ago.

“I tell people that it’s like. It’s like having 40 years of your life ripped out of your heart. You can’t replace it,” Kevin Kubot said.

He says they knew he was struggling, but felt helpless trying to get him the help he needed, adding “he tried to hide it from us, but we knew he was struggling with it again”

“The amount of turmoil it brings to a family is unreal,” his wife said.

Randall Hancock, a Valdosta Police officer, talked about his son-in-law being one of the 22 plus veterans that commit suicide every day.

“We’ve all heard 22 a day. I think the number is personally higher myself. But when it actually seriously hits your family and you experience it, then you understand,” Hancock said.

He applauds the non-profit called “Jon’s Mission For 22″ that’s raising money for Veterans, providing resources like trained dogs or mental health sessions.

“Projects like this are working. They are starting to work,” he added. Just recently,

The VA announced a 10% decrease in suicides in 2020.