WICHITA, Kan. A Kansas veteran commits suicide five days after the birth of his little girl, and the men he served with are ready to take action.
The people who knew Norman Worden call him a hero, a loving father and husband. He was a man who would die for the brothers he served with in Iraq. But on the inside, Norman was fighting a battle few can understand.
“He felt he was unworthy and didn't deserve a lot of things. I would say he was a hero and he would tell me I’m far from that. I'm not a hero,” says his wife Jordahn.
It was a feeling that despite his many attempts to get help, would lead Norman to take his life inside his Larned home.
He leaves behind his wife, three boys and a newborn daughter.
“Right before his suicide, it was surprising to me. I thought he was doing well and was excited about our daughter, like there were no signs of anything,” says Jordahn fighting back tears.
The men he served with in the 714th on two tours in Iraq are asking how many more like Norman have to die before something else is done.
They say they are tired of waiting for someone else to do something and feel the Department of Veterans Affairs is failing vets. It’s estimated that 20 veterans commit suicide every day. Fort Riley in Kansas has lost seven in the just the last few months.
“We lost more men after combat than during combat...something new has to be done!” says Steven who served with Norman.
Ashley Jarvis served with Norman and is now leading an effort to provide more support.
They call it “Operation Sunrise” and say it’s way to bring veterans together to lean on each other for more support.
They not only want to create more reunions for veterans but also provide support to get them there. Their goal is eventually to create a non-profit to help.
“Seeing his brothers was important. Those reunions helped him. I think that's why it's important for us to get together and look forward to getting together,” says Jarvis.
Their goal is to have three reunions per year. Their idea is gaining traction. Senator Jerry Moran’s office has reached out to Jarvis and Norman’s wife, Jordahn.
If you would like to help, you can find how to do so here.
Veterans needing help can call the Wichita VA Behavioral Health Clinic at 316-651-3621 during normal business hours. They can also call the Veteran’s Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.