Honoring Sgt. Baker: Preventing Veteran Suicides

- A North Carolina family is looking to raise awareness for veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder after PTSD claimed the life of their husband and father, Sgt. Wade Baker.

Appearing on WJZY's Good Day Charlotte Wednesday, the Baker family remembered Wade, who died in a shootout with police near Asheville, North Carolina three months ago. The 10 year veteran of the Army had been deployed to Operation Desert Storm when he returned home forever scarred.

"The nightmares were real bad and the just kept getting worse," his wife Michelle said. "

His wife and sister worked hard to get him help, which eventually came in the form of a service dog named Honor.

Honor helped Sgt. Baker for years. His family said the dog helped rescue him from bouts of anxiousness.

At the memorial service for Sgt. Baker, Honor curled up on the floor in front of the flag-draped casket. A phoo of Honor was captured and shared world wide by the Associated Press and other news agencies.

"We call it his 'last watch,'" Michelle recalled. "It was very emotional."

Honor continues to help Sgt. Baker's wife and their boys, showing them extra affection whenever he senses them getting anxious.

On this Veterans Day, Sgt. Wade Baker's family traveled from just outside Asheville, NC, to Charlotte to share their story on FOX 46 Charlotte.

They have started a new GoFundMe page where they hope to:
*Share precious memories of Sgt. Baker, including his humor
*Raise awareness about service dogs and Paws & Effect
*Encourage everyone to reach out to a Veteran to let them know someone cares

Money raised by the page will help the family stay financial afloat. The family said a processing delaying the Department of Veterans Affairs will prevent their survivor's fund from paying out before July of 2016.

You can donate at: https://www.gofundme.com/bakertwins.

Donations will also send the boys to a military suicide survivors camp, and help them advocate for their initiative, entitled "22 Every Day Baker's Battle." Twenty-two veterans take their lives every day, according to a 2012 Veterans Affairs report. The family is looking to lower - if not eliminate - that number.

Veterans suffering from PTSD or other needs, may call the Veterans Crisis Hotline: 800-273-8255, Then Press 1.

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