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New effort to stop veteran suicides

Posted at 8:13 PM, May 12, 2016
"I had contemplated that, I had thought, I could do this. I could do this. I could do this but maybe tomorrow," said Retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Mark Lalli.
 
Mark Lalli is not talking about laundry, cutting the grass or cleaning dishes.
 
"It was in the back of my mind that, you know, you could do this. You could end this all," he said. 
 
The retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant is speaking of suicide-- how a helicopter crash that took six fellow soldiers in Iraq brought him to the brink. 
 
"We spun for about, it was about 200 feet. We hit the ground and we hit the ground at more than 50 G's," he said. 
 
Now Lalli conquers a traumatic brain injury and PTSD on his horse, Sonic, at Quantum Leap Farm in Odessa.
 
"I owe this life to them and I owe this life to be good and productive and make the best for myself, make the best for my community and help as many people as I can," he said. 
 
He's part of a new Bay Area coalition of veteran focused groups joining forces to combat vet suicides. At least 22 vets a day take their lives nationwide.
 
The new effort to stop these suicides is just getting off the ground in Tampa. 
 
"It's not like it's not doable. I think there's a wealth of resources here in the Tampa Bay area and I think what we've got to find out is, is there the will," said Edie Dopking, Executive Director Quantum Leap Farm. 
 
This vet's will to live, spirit to live, is obvious when you see him on the farm. 
 
It's also where he met and married his wife.
 
"It was actually my first day on the job volunteering and it was her first day. My first day of volunteering as a photographer, her first day volunteering shoveling horse poop and I met her and we struck it up, hit it off and got married there two years later," said Lalli.