July 6, 2011
CARSON praises white house for change in condolence letter policy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman André Carson released the following statement today in response to President Obama's decision to reverse the White House policy of not sending condolence letters to the next-of-kin of service members who commit suicide.
Indianapolis resident Gregg Keesling, whose son, Army Specialist Chancellor Keesling, committed suicide in June 2009 while on his second deployment in Iraq, reached out to Congressman Carson in seeking change in the long-standing policy.
“While we know more about combat-related mental health issues like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury than ever, our men and women in uniform still face a dangerous stigma against pursuing the help they need.
“President Obama's decision will not only provide much needed recognition to grieving families, but also, it will show service members that mental health sacrifices are just as important as physical ones. Our service members deserve to know that their sacrifices for our country are valued, not viewed as weakness."
“We owe Gregg Keesling for his tireless work to make this change happen. He brought this issue to my attention two years ago after facing his own tragedy, and I have been privileged to work with him and the White House to highlight this issue.”
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