Spreading awareness about suicide among veterans

CLINTON, Iowa (KWQC) -- This year's annual A Night to Remeber event was about spreading suicide awareness among veterans. The group called "Speak Out Against Suicide" wants to end the stigma surrounding suicide, get the word out, and encourage others to talk about it.

"You know there's such a big stigma and we do want people to know its okay. It affects everybody and maybe in different ways, but it affects everybody" said Esther Vogel, president of Speak Out Against Suicide.

The group hopes stories like Andrew Carbajal's inspires others to find hope. Andrew Carbajal spoke at tonight's event. He is a veteran and was injured in Iraq in 2007.

"I was a combat medic and I loved to help people and when they told me I couldn't serve anymore, it was kind of hard on me," said Carbajal.

Carabajal was able to overcome many obstacles and is a husband, father, and teacher. He says he would like to change the stigma surrounding PTSD.

"It's become an epidemic of a depressive state and I think I want to change that stigma and open up. I mean a tough guy like me, they don't see it because I smile all the time, they don't know what's inside, but if I express myself, maybe things will change," he said.

Vogel says the group wanted to recognize veterans and let them know they are not alone.

Speak Out Against Suicide says this year's goal is to raise enough money for two service dogs for veterans with PTSD.