Shedding light on PTSD

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Shedding light on PTSD

ltr2-jpg-20150129Marine veteran Hipolito Arriaga helps assemble the PTSD Memorial Wall during the second annual LCpl Janos V. Lutz Live To Tell Ride. (Sun Sentinel photo by Scott Fisher)

An American flag on a Pembroke Pines fire truck helped capture the moment as a parade of motorcycles and cars arrived at C.B. Smith Park.

The second annual LCpl Janos V. Lutz Live to Tell Ride, which had started at Western High School in Davie, was born out of Janine Lutz’s heartbreak. Her son Janos, a Marine coming off of tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, committed suicide after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Since then, she has made it her mission to raise awareness and help families dealing with similar issues.

Proceeds from the ride, T-shirt sales and more went to the LCpl Janos V Lutz Live to Tell Foundation Buddy Up Combat Outpost. The monthly meetings at the Davie Women’s Club provide veterans with a comfortable setting to interact, and the program also provides food, bowling gatherings, holiday parties and more.

“A lot of the motorcycle people are military,” Lutz said. “They like to ride for a cause and a reason. This is a great reason, saving lives. It warms my heart to see everyone.”

After the ride, the organization set up the PTSD Memorial Wall at the Pembroke Pines park.

“If you don’t have any military family or you don’t experience this firsthand, you don’t really understand it,” said Michelle Coleman, the foundation’s vice president. “But when you … see over 200 on the wall and realize that it is only a week’s worth of loss, it hits home that it could be my brother, sister or any family member.”

The event also featured a Blessing of the Bikes, a car show, music and food trucks.

Attendees included Mike and Janice Dalgliesh, whose son Rory committed suicide after suffering from PTSD.

“We came to the event last year, and it’s really emotional,” Janice Dalgliesh said. “I don’t think people really know what the families or veterans are going through. Help is not going to be from the big box nonprofits. It’s going to be grassroots and organizations like this. I see this as a way of honoring my son’s memory.”

The cause also is personal for rider John Burke, a Marine veteran who’s ridden motorcycles for about 30 years.

“The big thing is drawing awareness,” he said. “A lot of people don’t realize that when you come back home, you’re not the same. I suffer myself. They think when you come home, it’s over with. It’s never over with as I’ve been dealing with it for a little bit over 20 years.”

For more information, visit Lcpllutzlivetotell.org.

Scott Fishman can be reached at smfishman@tribune.com.
Copyright © 2015, Sun Sentinel

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