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    National Guard Grapples With Suicide Rate, Resilience

    National Guard Grapples With Suicide Rate, Resilience

    As of Jan. 17, veterans thinking about hurting themselves can get free crisis care, including inpatient, for up to 90 days at Veterans Affairs. They do not need to be enrolled in VA care. For immediate help, dial 988, then press 1.

    Editor's Note: This is the first story in a multipart series.

    Col. Tom Stewart saw Staff Sgt. Chris DeLano for the last time at a brewery in Brookfield, Massachusetts. DeLano had texted Stewart sometime in November 2020 and asked to meet up—he had something important to tell him.

    “Sir, I need to see you,” the text read.

    Stewart had retired from the Massachusetts National Guard more than a year earlier.

    At the brewery, DeLano, 36, skipped the beer. He had been diagnosed with throat cancer, he told Stewart.

    “What are the doctors telling you?” Stewart asked, concerned about an enlisted soldier who had come to rely on him.

    “They said I'm going to make it through,” DeLano said.

    DeLano still worked for the Guard full time at an armory nearly two hours away from his Middleborough home. But because of the pandemic, DeLano spent most of the year working from home. When he told his chain of command about his cancer treatment, he moved to an armory closer to where he lived.

    While the treatment kept him from drinking at the brewery, the food truck selling tacos wasn't off limits, and neither were a few late-night episodes of Cobra Kai back at Stewart's home just a town…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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