Donna Chapman is turning a devastating loss into a fight against veteran suicide.
When her son Will told her he wanted to become a police officer, she was overjoyed by his dedication to service above self.
Will wasn’t able to join the academy until he was 21, so the two of them decided that enlisting in the military was the best way to get valuable experience that would carry over to the world of law enforcement.
Will enlisted in the Army National Guard, taking an oath to defend his country.
“William was good at putting others before himself so it seemed like a natural fit,” Donna said.
Will served from June 2010 until August 2016. He was deployed to the Kandahar region of Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom from 2012-2013 at the age of 20.
While Will came home uninjured from physical wounds, it became clear that he was suffering in a different kind of way. The unforgiving scenes of war had forever changed him.
Will succumbed to his battle with Post Traumatic Stress in 2017, just 4 months after being discharged from the National Guard.
Donna knows this could have been prevented. “Nothing cuts deeper into the heart than having lost him by his own hand,” she said. Will had actively been seeking help, but everywhere he turned, the system failed him.
“My son did try to advocate for himself and he did report his emotional injuries so that he could get the needed help and support,” she went on to say, “but we failed him.”
— Will power for Veterans (@WillsWillpower) November 12, 2018
The tragedy led Donna to make a change for the availability of treatment for veterans who are battling similar demons. She went on to create Will Power for Veterans, a non-profit that advocates for and supports veterans and first responders.
“In just the last 20 years we lost approximately 130,000 selfless veterans in our country who ended their own lives by suicide.”
“Our active duty military, veterans, and first responders are at highest risk for emotional injury and this is now my new passion in life to just do my part by trying my best to support them. And I need all the help I can get to make the necessary noise, attention, and support to implementing some changes.”
Donna is hosting 2 events on behalf of Will Power in Connecticut later this month, raising funds to expand her reach and ability to provide meaningful support to our struggling heroes.
The first event is scheduled for November 26thbeginning at 9am at Yale campus in Orange, CT. Attendees will go through an Emergency Preparedness and Response Seminar – something everyone can benefit from in today’s world. Guest speakers will include Brad Cole from K9 First Responders and Jin Kim, a 23-year veteran of the FBI. The seminar is open to all emergency responders, civilians, and encouraged for employees of work places such as schools, hospitals, churches, and more.
These experts will discuss critical components of public safety, diving into real-world scenarios. The seminar is just $25 per attendee, and lunch will be included. You can RSVP here.
The second opportunity to support the organization will be a military and first responder appreciation dinner on November 28th. Guests will attend the social gathering at the Yard Goats Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford, CT beginning at 5pm.
Attendees will be served cocktails, appetizers, a full dinner, and lucky guests will take home incredible raffle prizes. (A little birdie told us that one prize includes an Air Taxi day trip to Cape Cod!) Author and veteran Silouan Green will be giving a keynote speech. You can RSVP here.
— Will power for Veterans (@WillsWillpower) November 13, 2018
All proceeds are being donated directly to Will Power for Veterans, and the money will be used to help our nation’s bravest in what might be their toughest battle.
You don’t want to miss this #event – Wed, Nov 28th from 5PM – 9:30PM – for a #DinnerSocial #fundraiser with @WillsWillpower at the @GoYardGoats #DunkinDonutsPark in #HartfordCT . Please reserve your spothttps://t.co/H464ktg5sg pic.twitter.com/ZDOrrA99nr
— Will power for Veterans (@WillsWillpower) November 15, 2018
Not around for the event but still want to help? Make a donation right here.
You can find all of the information at www.WillsWillpower.com