TRACY, Calif. — Jamie Medina spent 17 years in the Air Force, including six combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan in special operations, calling airstrikes from the ground.
"Like there was nothing I could take and there's no amount of alcohol that I could have drank to mask what was going on with me," Medina said.
But, returning to civilian life in Tracy was difficult, the 42-year-old veteran told ABC10.
"Then you come home and it's quiet. From a very fast-paced tempo to silence," Medina said.
It was a silence he couldn't handle.
"I was at the point of suicidal and homicidal and a threat to myself and my children and my wife," Medina said.
But, he turned things around, got help through Veterans Affairs (VA), and co-founded a non-profit in Tracy called FIX'D. Started four years ago, the veterans' outreach group has helped more than 1,300 former soldiers suffering from PTSD, drug and alcohol addiction, and more.
"Any veteran, any veteran status, we will work with you," Jennifer Volbrecht said.
Vollbrecht is an Iraqi combat veteran from Manteca who is on the all-volunteer staff of FIX'D.
"So we provide veteran treatment court, case management, mentorship, and we partner with psychologists and anger management groups to assist these veterans through this difficult time of being in the veteran treatment court and graduating through the program with peer counselors," Volbrecht said.
FIX'D doesn't just help veterans in Tracy or in San Joaquin County, but across the nation.
Medina said he has set up a network with friends to help with suicide intervention. To date, he said they've successfully intervened in more than 300 suicide attempts.
"We have older vets, we have younger vets that come through, all kinds. Their families come through worried about their family member," Johnny Dubitsky, executive director of FIX'D, said.
Medina said he turns clients into counselors. They are brothers in arms helping one another through the most difficult times of their lives.
His advice to veterans is simple.
"It's your family and your friends, they know you. They understand you. Just talk. That's all it is. Just talk. And you'll realize once you do you start facing those demons...they're not as scary as you think they are," Medina said.
If you are a veteran who needs help or a family member who is seeking help for a veteran, call FIX'D in Tracy at 209-207-9284.
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