Bob Adelhelm is fighting for the city of Jacksonville to etch a Marine veteran’s name on their Veteran’s Memorial Wall. He says those with the power to make the decision aren’t willing to reconsider; he wants more transparency from the city.
Adelhelm wants to honor Sgt. Randall Hansen, a local Marine veteran who deployed to the middle-east, but eventually took his life after returning home and struggled with PTSD.
“The reason why we want Hansen on the wall is because we want to bring attention to PTSD,” Adelhelm said to Jacksonville.com. “PTSD is just as deadly as a sniper on the battlefield; it just takes a little longer for the death to happen.”
Bill Spann, the director of the Military Affairs and Veterans Department for Jacksonville, understands where Adelhelm is coming from, but refers back to the original criteria that has been in place for 20 years: the wall is for locals lost on active-duty service during a time of war.
“If we make this exception, that granite wall could encircle EverBank Field,” Spann remarked referring to the local football stadium.
Spann explains it would be difficult to know and ascertain who else may have died from the disorder.
Spann has gone so far to offer Hansen’s family the opportunity to lay a wreath at the wall during Memorial Day to honor their son. But Adelhelm says this isn’t good enough and wants the Marine’s name on the wall with the words PTSD inscribed next to it.
Adelhelm and other vets began circulating petitions around the city with the hopes that officials will reconsider.
Spann has suggested that another wall be built, citing the numerous parks in the Jacksonville area where a monument could be erected, but it would require a private organization to assist with financing the project.
One thing is clear, Spann isn’t budging on the current Veteran’s Memorial Wall. “We have a standard, and we should respect the standard we have on the wall,” Spann said.
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