Our men and women in uniform and our veterans deserve the very best of everything. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, roughly 22 veterans commit suicide daily. Combat engineer Curtis Gearhart, 32, was a two-tour Iraq war veteran who was seeking help from the VA for recurring headaches, concerned about a previous tumor he had. After two months of waiting for assistance, Gearhart—who was also seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder—tragically took his own life on November 7 in Johnson, Iowa.
The veteran’s girlfriend, Valesca Steffens, told WHO-TV about the pain he was experiencing. “He previously had a tumor. He was worried about it and they told him it would be five to six weeks. They send these soldiers over so young to fight these wars and then they don’t live up to their promises of taking care of them when they come home.”
The tragedy became even more devastating as Steffens learned she was pregnant less than 24 hours before Gearhart was buried. She knows his memory will live on in their child. “I hope someday I’m gonna be able to look into his eyes again and that’s a lot to look forward to,” she said.
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst responded to this devastating loss saying, “The loss of Curtis Gearhart is truly tragic and my prayers are with Curtis, his family, and friends at this time. We absolutely must ensure our men and women who have selflessly sacrificed in defense of our freedoms receive the quality, timely care they deserve. I am looking into what happened between the VA and Curtis, and what steps can be taken to prevent such tragedies in the future.”
In addition to Steffens and their unborn child, Gearhart leaves behind two daughters and a son.
Watch the video and find out how you can help Gearhart’s children on the next page
A GoFundMe page has been set up in Gearhart’s memory to help provide for his surviving children. You can donate here.