New Memorial Brings Awareness to Veterans with PTSD

LEHIGHTON, CARBON COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) -- It's been almost four years since a Lehighton family lost their son, a U.S. Army veteran. He suffered from PTSD, and like thousands of others, he ended his life because of it. Now his family is on a journey to spread awareness -- and prove that PTSD is not a sign of weakness.  Eyewitness News reporter Haley Bianco has their story.

When 9/11 happened, Michael Wargo signed up for the army. He was deployed to Afganistan for 10 months. 

"He came home a different man," said his mother, Sarah Wargo. 

While overseas, Michael watched 10 of his close friends die -- a nightmare he would not be able to wake up from. 

"Michael never reported it to anyone that he had PTSD," said Sarah. 

For eight years, Michael suffered in silence; dealing every day with the pain of survivor's guilt and nightmares. 

In May 2013, he ended his inner struggle by suicide. 

"One is too many! We need to stop this," said his father, Mike Wargo. 

His son is one of many who commit suicide as a veteran. 

"They lost their war at home," said Wargo. 

"We want to bring awareness to the community and the politicians that this still happens everyday," said Sarah. 

The Wargo's are working with veteran groups across the country to create memorials for veterans who commit suicide. A memorial of 20, 10-foot tall steel silhouettes of veterans will travel around the country, spreading awareness. One of them is the silhouette of Michael. 

The steel cut-out from his plaque will create another memorial... That will be on display in Harrisburg in may. 

"We have to work harder to support them so they know they're not alone and that we're here for them," said Sarah. 

The memorial will be on display in Harrisburg on May 23 in front of the state capitol building. On June 17 it will move to its permanent home in Lehighton between Lehigh Drive and Sergeant Stanley Hoffman Boulevard. 

 

 

 

 

 


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