Danny’s Story

On April 29, 2019 at 8 am I got a phone call from my son.

I was at a doctor’s checkup and asked if I could call him back when I got out of the doctor. He said I would need to because it was D day.

When I left the doctor, I called, and he said he wanted to FaceTime. So, I pulled on the side of the road and we FaceTimed for two hours while he finally told me that almost a year ago, on a ship in Japan, he was sexually assaulted by 3 fellow seaman. These 3 seamen had assaulted 2 other victims before Danny and were still wondering free. He was given the option to return to his first duty station, which for Danny was in San Diego.

He had struggled and according to the rules he was only given one off base psychiatrist. He was not allowed to tell his friends and the only one that knew was his wife. He was married with a 3-year-old daughter, Katherine, who is now 4 ½.

For 2 hours Danny described how he lost all humanity and dignity and how he could never get it back. This is when he made the decision, he was going to shoot himself in the heart. I got his two sisters on the text and had them FaceTime him and then I went to meet them.

We had the San Diego Police and two of his best friends arrived at his apartment. My two daughters and I were in Maryland in my office. We all talked for a total of 5 hours. We thought he was finally going to open the door. That is when he hung up the phone and shot himself.

Just like you see on TV, within an hour I had a Casualty Officer and Chaplain from the Naval Academy at my front door to help with arrangements to take my family and I to San Diego. When we arrived the Commanding Officer of the Base forbid me to talk to anyone about what happened to Danny. I told him he had a snowballs chance in Hell of keeping me quiet, if he had been able to talk to someone, he may still be alive.

Of course, all of his friends were so upset because they believe if they had known they could have helped. We will never know.

BUT Danny specifically asked me, “Mom, when you believe in something you are a force of nature and I am no longer strong enough to do this., but I need you to promise to make a change so that other children don’t grow up without parents.”

So, I sold my 75 year old family business that I have owned and run for 45 years to start this foundation. I want to educate the public and Elected officials about sexual assault and suicide in all branches of the military service, the updates that ABSOLUTLY must be made to Protect our Service Men and Women!

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