“I had taken myself out of life. I was just waiting to die. Through it all, Peter (a Veterans Count, Care Coordinator) never gave up on me – a lot of people would have given up, but he didn’t. He rode the ups and downs with me. I’m living proof you can come back from the brink.”
—Warren Mickle, Vietnam veteran
A knock on the door on October 20, 2012, sent Warren Mickle’s world into a tailspin. Two police officers informed Warren that his son Jonathan, who had returned home from two tours of duty in Iraq, in 2010, had committed suicide. Adding to the tragedy, the hospital called to say the funeral home wouldn’t take his son’s body without payment. Warren was out of money and out of hope.
It was then that a neighbor, familiar with Easter Seals’ Veterans Count program, made the important phone call that resulted in a solution to the immediate crisis and began a relationship with Warren that would initiate the healing of his excruciating emotional pain.
The Veterans Count Emergency Fund provided financial assistance so that Jonathan Mickle could be buried with the dignity befitting a veteran who served his country with honor. This was incredibly meaningful to Warren who said, “My son made it to war and back, but unfortunately, he didn’t make it all the way back. Veterans have given up a lot and they deserve
everything we can give them.”
Warren’s loss was magnified in the months following Jonathan’s death. Warren has a number of serious health issues and Jonathan had always been there to help his father. Peter began regular visits with Warren to help him manage his grief and physical ailments.
The neighbor who had initially called Veterans Count arranged for a welcome addition to Warren’s household, a playful kitten that soon endeared itself to neighbors, opening up a social network for Warren who had become isolated by his grief and depression. Additionally, Peter arranged for Warren to receive a more powerful motorized wheel chair, a computer, and other resources to assist with daily living and keep him connected to his community. This support helped Warren completely shift his attitude toward life. “I went from sitting at home waiting to die to feeling happy to be alive,” he explained. “Peter thought I was worth the effort.”
You can feel Peter’s respect for Warren when he describes the difference Warren has made as a loving father and in the community as a dedicated little league organizer and coach for many years. Peter summed it up, “I’ve been privy to hundreds of memories in the data bank of Warren’s heart that need to be pumped up to balance his loss. For him, it is empowering to get his sense of personal value back.”
These days, Warren is “looking forward to looking forward.”
“Now I can look back at memories of my son and be happy, and not sad. I have good days and I have bad days but I never have a day when I can’t call Peter and he’ll be there for me. If not for Peter, I wouldn’t be here. Peter has taught me how to live with my son’s death…. Jonathan is my hero, I love him.”
Learn more about Veterans Count, please call 603.623.8863 or click here.