Sergeant Lends Ear to Fellow Soldier, Prevents Suicide
June 10, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas- Soldiers are called upon to fight against the continuing war on terrorism, but one Soldier had to fight a different battle last week when he helped a fellow Soldier who was in need of assistance.
The quick thinking of Sgt. Richard Lamas, a native of Bovina, Texas and an operations noncommissioned officer for the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, helped save the life of another Soldier who was intent on ending his own life.
Lamas was heading home at the end of the day June 4 when he noticed a Soldier loitering in the parking lot of the Ironhorse Brigade Chapel. Lamas asked the Soldier if he needed assistance when the Soldier stated 'I don't think I can go back to my room because I might hurt myself.'
Lamas talked to the Soldier while they went to the chapel and sought assistance for the soldier. Finding the chaplain gone, Lamas took the Soldier down to the Headquarters and Headquarters Troop's company area and sought the number for the chaplain on call.
Lamas and the Soldier left the troop and arrived back at the chapel to find the chaplain in. But Lamas didn't leave the Soldier. He, along with the chaplain, offered the Soldier advice. Lamas said his intent was to make the Soldier understand his worth to himself and to those around him.
"I wanted him to understand his value," said Lamas. "I talked to him about the hurt his family and friends, and particularly his son would feel if he ended his life."
After much counseling with the Soldier, the chaplain made the decision to seek help from a local hospital. Lamas who could have gone home at that point chose to stay with the Soldier until he was admitted for treatment.
Lamas, who didn't know he was being awarded a medal, was humbled when Maj. Geoffrey Norman, a native of Boulder, Colo. and the battalion executive officer for the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team pinned the Army Achievement Medal on his uniform in a ceremony held June 6.
"A simple thank you would have sufficed," said Lamas. "I didn't need all of this, I was doing what anyone else would do."
Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Franklin, who hails from Bonne Terre, Mo. spoke of Lamas and his good will to a Soldier in need.
"When we see young Soldiers helping young Soldiers, it's an Army success story."
Lamas addressed the fellow troops of the Soldier he helped. He spoke to them of their continuing duty and need to offer their assistance when someone is in need.
"Just be a friend and listen when someone asks," said Lamas. "You never know when someone may reach out to you."
Friend and battle buddy is just what Lamas will continue to be. When the Soldier is released from the hospital Lamas says he has every intention of being there if that Soldier needs him again.