27-year-old Marine Sgt. Joeseph Lorek, AKA Ghost Rider, served 3 tours of duty in Iraq and came home to take his own life in the garage. It was a severe case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Out of that tragic end, The Ghost Rider Foundation was born.
"Ghost Rider was a real Marine. A good Marine, who brought a lot of the war home with him," said Tim DeWolf, who runs the Ghost Rider Foundation.
"Somebody needs to go out and find those veterans in the moment of crisis when they really reach bottom and offer them an alternative"
Army Veteran Frank DeLorenzo and his family found strength in the Ghost Rider Foundation.
"I couldn't think. I couldn't process anything. I was getting into arguments and didn't even know what they were about," said DeLorenzo.
DeLorenzo's PTSD set in after he sustained a traumatic brain injury in Iraq in 2004. After the Ghost Rider Foundation changed their lives, he and his wife paid it forward and started Wags 4 Warriors. Now they rescue and train dogs that then in turn, rescue Veterans right back.
"Sophie is my service dog. She pulls me out of panic attacks. She wakes me from nightmares and pulls me out of flashbacks. She reminds me to take my medication," said Marine Tyler Bale.
Radar is another Wags 4 Warriors dog that serves as Marine Tyler Bale's right hand canine, helping him undo what war has done.
"I had a complete inability to show emotions. You're so numb inside nothing matters", said Bales. "Now Radar has changed my life, seriously, we rescued each other."
DeWolf says suicides are up to an average of 23 a day now.
"If we were to line up flags in front of our city halls at the rate of 23 a day, America would begin to finally perceive what the actual cost is. We are sacrificing the survivors of war for the ravages at home."
Most are veterans, but DeWolf says Active Duty numbers of suicides are soaring. "In 2010 there were 245 active duty suicides. It's up to more than 320 in 2013."
Copyright 2013 WOIO. All rights reserved.