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Comedian Uses Laughter To Break The Ice In Suicide Prevention

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Comedian Bernie McGrenahan is using laughter to break the ice on Fort Hood this suicide prevention day.

After 30 minutes of stand-up comedy, he has the soldiers' attention.

Then he begins sharing his powerful story about they day his 19-year old brother killed himself, forever changing the lives of everyone around him.

"That bullet didn't just go through my brother that day," Bernie said on stage, "That bullet went through my mother who gave birth to him, it went through my father."

Bernie talked about what it's like to be touched by suicide.

"I lost my younger brother Scott to suicide. He was 19 years old. I was in my early 20's," Bernie said.

He spoke about the painful aftermath caused by it.

Bernie said, "life is valuable for all of us, and I miss my brother. I want people to know what it's like."

Each year, more and more soldiers join the fight against the epidemic of suicide, and numbers are going down.

There were 19 confirmed suicides on Fort Hood in 2012, and five confirmed in 2013, with another death under investigation as suicide.

Military-wide, the number of deaths investigated as suicides dropped from 185 in 2012 to 77 in 2013.

Still the war is raging, and leadership isn't letting its guard down.

"One suicide is too many in terms of the impact to the lives of the families, the soldiers and our units," said Acting Fort Hood Commanding General Major General Anthony Ierardi.

That's the message Bernie will keep front and center as he finishes up at Fort Hood this week and moves on Navy installations. 

"I just want soldiers all across the world as well as airmen, sailors, Marine, Guard to know that there are resources available, should you get depressed or stressed, and it is ok to talk, it's not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of courage," Bernie said.

Suicide Prevention Resources: http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/default.asp

Reporter: Sophia Stamas sstamas@kcentv.com

Photographer: Chris Buford cbuford@kcentv.com

 

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