From Friend john Dill…”2007 Email received… “I’m sorry to tell you by email but I don’t know how else to get in touch with you. Frank was killed today by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). I don’t know what I’m going to do. Please call me as soon as you can.” I sat in that tent in Kuwait reading those words from Frank’s wife, Sabita. I was with my platoon waiting to head into Iraq for our own deployment. Frank had already gone in with his platoon for 13 months of a 15 month deployment. He and I met at the Infantry Officer Basic Course at Ft. Benning GA where he became one of my best friends. Frank was born and raised in Woodbury, Tennessee and had a contagious million dollar smile that would spread across his face regardless of how cold, wet, exhausted, or otherwise miserable the situation we found ourselves in presented itself to be. He grew up the oldest of nine and embodied the consummate older brother and born leader, constantly assessing and helping those around him. If and when you ever found yourself in a shitty situation that required getting out of and you wanted to laugh the whole time you were getting through it, Franky is the guy you’d want to see when you looked to your side.
I don’t remember much about my conversation with his wife in the middle of the night in Kuwait. All I remember is her crying for 15 minutes straight when she answered the line. It felt like 15 days and all I could say over and over was “I’m sorry”. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for Frank. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there for her. I’m sorry it wasn’t me. We left for Al Asad, Iraq a few days later and I was deployed for the next six months. I missed Frank’s funeral and memorial services. By the time I got home, the world had moved on.
For me, To The Lost, represents an opportunity to remember Frank and the countless others who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service for us. It represents the chance to make a difference, the chance to remember just how precious this life is and the chance to say thank you. Every day 22 veterans, men and women, commit suicide. I think we can all agree that is unacceptable. To The Lost supports an organization dedicated to addressing the problem before it starts.