10 years later: Veteran's family seeks action for PTSD sufferers - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

10 years later: Veteran's family seeks action for PTSD sufferers

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Jeff Lucey Jeff Lucey
BELCHERTOWN, MA (WSHM) -

This Memorial Day people across the country commemorate the lives of those who died serving our country. But many others lose their lives in a different kind of combat.

According to the U.S. Army, 22 soldiers a day take their lives suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

For Kevin and Joyce Lucey of Belchertown, that number is all too real.

You won't find Jeff Lucey's name on the war memorial in the center of his hometown.

The 23-year-old United States Marine made it back from combat in Iraq.

But for the Lucey family the bright, loveable son who wanted to be a state trooper never did truly come back.

"Jeffrey had a lot going for him. He had college. He was very personable. He had a beautiful smile," Joyce Lucey spoke of her son.

Jeff came home from a tour in Iraq in 2003. He struggled for months going to class and eventually stopped altogether. A sudden noise could make him drop and crouch to the floor.

Jeff's parents recall the night before they found their own son, dead in their Belchertown home.

"He said to the vet center that night, 'no one cares enough to help,'" Joyce Lucey said.

"The night before he died, Jeff did show me how he was going to do that. I called up the vet center. I spoke to a wonderful person who spoke to Jeff and then later that night, Jeff asked if he could rock in my lap, and we rocked in that chair," Kevin Lucey recounted.

Like so many others the Luceys said Jeff needed quick professional help from the Veterans Affair Center.

Support they said Jeff never got.

"He was just falling apart in front of us and he knew he was falling apart. By the time they had a bed for him, that was the day he died," Joyce Lucey explained.

On June 22, it'll have been 10 years since they lost their son.

Ten years filled with rallies, talks on the phone with similar families and a crusade to end the stigma surrounding military suicides.

However, the Luceys said it is as if time hasn't moved.

"We feel we're in the same place," Kevin Lucey said.

While millions listen to Taps or attend a parade, Memorial Day for the Luceys is charged with emotions.

They now work with the organization TAPS, helping families cope with the suicides of their soldiers.

Although they'd like to see the system change, to become quicker, more honest, they know Jeff's story has touched people dealing with wounds that are not visible.

"Jeffy has helped people really throughout the world," Kevin Lucey said.

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