Local veterans react to Kander's decision

Jason Kander's decision to drop out of the Kansas City mayoral race is inspiring local veterans to share their stories.

Posted: Oct 5, 2018 12:35 AM

(CAMERON, Mo) Jason Kander's decision to go public about his post traumatic stress has inspired more veterans to come forward and share their stories. That includes one local veteran from Cameron. After 9/11, Justin Snodgrass knew he wanted to serve his country.

"It was something I was gonna do, come hell or high water," Snodgrass said.  "It was gonna happen, I was gonna join the Marine Corps, I was gonna defend my country."

Snodgrass did four tours in various locations including Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, he serves as an advocate for other veterans as they navigate their journey of post traumatic stress.

"I made [it] my personal mission to basically do everything I can to try and help other guys and girls that are dealing with the same stuff that I deal with," Snodgrass said

Living with PTSD, was difficult at first for Snodgrass, he said the hardest part was admitting that he had a serious problem. He admitted to having suicidal thoughts, and even to a failed suicide attempt. Eventually, he spoke out about his PTS, and he said support played a big role in his recovery. 

"I told my family, I told my friends, they were more than supportive." Snodgrass said. 

On Tuesday, Jason Kander, the former Secretary of State and one of the front-runners for the next mayor of Kansas City announced that he too has PTSD, and that he has also dealt with suicidal thoughts. A combat veteran himself, Kander posted on social media that after an 11-year, solo battle with PTSD, it was time to get help.

When Snodgrass heard of Kander's decision, he said he supported the decision, but had mixed feelings as to whether dropping out of the race was the right call.  

"...That's a great thing, on the veterans spectrum, [but] I look at it from the civilian side and I'm going, 'I've seen vets fly off the handle for no apparent reason.'" Snodgrass said. 

Veterans stress the importance of understanding the other person when it comes to PTSD, because they said the issue is so broad.
"It can affect anyone," Briana Brownhill, a Physician Assistant at Northwest Health said. "It can affect veterans, or people who don't serve in the military at all." Brownhill is also a veteran who most recently served in Korea.

Veterans say, just being there for a person suffering can make a huge difference, and even save a life.

"There's a big saying in the veteran community, 'I got your six' and that's what it is," Snodgrass said. "When you feel like you can't go anymore, i've got your six, I'll keep pushing ya." 

Snodgrass wants veterans to know there's help for those struggling with PTSD. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

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