Major General (Ret.) Mark Graham and Carol Graham are 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients.
The Grahams have dedicated their lives to sharing their story of losing both sons to different types of battles in order to spread Mental Health Awareness. Watch this recent video of the Grahams, their story and their amazing contribution to the cause of suicide prevention.
An involving, ultimately inspiring true story of a military family that lost two sons- one to suicide and one in combat- and devoted their lives to fighting the military's suicide epidemic.
Kevinwas a University of Kentucky Senior Army ROTC scholarship cadet who studied to be a doctor when he lost the fight to suicide on June 21, 2003.
Jefferywas commissioned a lieutenant in the US Army as an Armor officer. He was killed warning his platoon of an IED while leading a dismounted patrol in Khadliyah, Iraq in 2004.
Major General Mark Graham (Ret.)
The loss of two sons drove Major General Graham to early retirement. The day he turned in his official paperwork, his wife, Carol, read him a passage from LB Cowan's Streams in the Desert: "you must defy the temptation for you are at the front lines of battle and crisis is at hand." This reminded Graham of the reasons why he and his sons had joined the military.
Since their boys' deaths, the Grahams have remained an Army family with a mission and a purpose to make the world a better place. Although still healing, the Grahams have become advocates for soldiers who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Suicide Prevention.
"I'm sad this is our story," Carol said in a recent interview, "but I just have to believe in what we do with our story--maybe we can help save somebody else's child."
Major General Mark Graham said: "As an Army and as a Nation, we must get in front of suicide, work to prevent it by action, not just figure it out after the fact."
Losing a Soldier to battle is tough. When that Soldier is your son, it’s devastating. But losing two Soldiers, two sons, to different battles rocks a man to his core.
Major General Mark Graham and his wife, Carol, shared their personal story of tragedy — and ultimately, triumph — with a roomful of Soldiers, spouses and providers during the Suicide Prevention Luncheon held Sept. 10 at the Fort Bragg Club.
For the Grahams, breaking the silence is an initial step in overcoming suicidal stigmas in a culture designed to be Army strong. In 2003, weeks before their youngest son committed suicide and months before their oldest son would die in combat — the Grahams thought they had the perfect Family of five. ...
The walls in Mark and Carol Graham's Fort Carson, Colo., home are dotted with photos of their children. There are the oldest two, sons Jeff and Kevin, smiling as toddlers in matching red, white and blue shirts; golfing as teens; and Melanie, posing with her big brothers on the Great Wall of China. Jeff's pictorial time line stops at age 24, Kevin's with a still-baby-faced portrait at 21. In February 2004 Army 2nd Lt. Jeff Graham died saving his platoon from a bomb on a bridge in Khaldiyah, Iraq. Near his photos are the plaques and flags that were showered on the Grahams to commemorate this fallen hero. Eight months earlier, ROTC cadet Kevin Graham, suffering from depression, hanged himself in his apartment at the University of Kentucky. Kevin had expected to follow his father and brother into the service as an Army doctor. He never had the opportunity to earn any stars, though a friend fashioned one from wood, which the Grahams display. "You get all this honor and respect when your son dies trying to warn his platoon, and I'm thinking, 'Kevin would have done that too,'" says Carol, 53. Her husband, Maj. Gen. Mark Graham, a 32-year military man who served in Desert Storm, adds quietly, "My sons died fighting different battles." ...
Maj. Gen. Mark Graham is on the frontlines of the Army's struggle to stop its soldiers from killing themselves. Through a series of novel experiments, the 32-year military veteran has turned his sprawling base here into a suicide-prevention laboratory.
One reason: Fort Carson has seen nine suicides in the past 15 months. Another: Six years ago, a 21-year-old ROTC cadet at the University of Kentucky killed himself in the apartment he shared with his brother and sister. He was Kevin Graham, Gen. Graham's youngest son...