Iowa veteran takes his life after VA has him wait for treatment
JOHNSTON, Iowa — He was a son, a father, a boyfriend and a veteran. After serving two tours in Iraq as a combat engineer, 32-year-old Curtis Gearhart found love and friendships. What he didn’t find was timely help from the V.A.
Gearhart took his own life on Monday, Nov. 7.
He had sought help from the V.A. nearly two months ago after experiencing recurring headaches.
“He previously had a tumor. He was worried about it and they told him it would be five to six weeks,” Gearhart’s girlfriend Valesca Steffens told WHO. “They send these soldiers over so young to fight these wars and then they don’t live up to their promises of taking care of them when they come home.”
Less than 24 hours before he was laid to rest, Steffens found out she was pregnant. She says the news is bittersweet but will allow his memory to remain.
“I hope someday I’m gonna be able to look into his eyes again and that’s a lot to look forward to,” she said.
After hearing about Curtis Gearhart’s death from WHO-TV, Sen. Joni Ernst responded saying:
The loss of Curtis Gearhart is truly tragic and my prayers are with Curtis, his family and friends at this time. We absolutely must ensure our men and women who have selflessly sacrificed in defense of our freedoms receive the quality, timely care they deserve. I am looking into what happened between the VA and Curtis, and what steps can be taken to prevent such tragedies in the future.”
Posted 6:09 pm, November 12, 2016, by Sarah Tisinger
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