Forward by Ron Meuser, Jr.
Jen Yackley & I originally met with Dana (who wrote the story below), her husband Ed & his service dog Rex to hear their story and learn how I can help. They founded an organization called Solder’s 6 whose mission is to provide honorably discharged veterans, police officers, and firefighters with specially trained K-9 dogs. The support they provide these brave individuals is nothing short of amazing and, unfortunately, very needed. We hear from our police officer & firefighter clients with PTSD that the suffering doesn’t end when the job is over and many don’t want the job to end. Dana and Ed’s story is very real, heartbreaking, and a reminder that we must be continuously supportive in any way we can. Please join Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, P.A. in supporting this worthy organization by going to https://www.soldiers6.com/how-can-i-help.
Yesterday was a day of pain. Mental, emotional, and physical pain. Sometimes in life we roll along, sometimes there’s a bump, and sometimes there’s a landmine. Yesterday was one of those days.
PTSD can manifest itself in so many ways. Trauma turns into pain, which can be emotional, mental and sometimes physical. When that pain becomes too much to bear, your world can implode. My husband Ed’s world did just that yesterday and it was a fight to stay in the fight. Thankfully as always, his brothers in blue stood by his side to see him through the storm. They were ready and willing to do whatever it took to carry him through. You never leave a man behind.
My worst fear of becoming a widow feels like a reality some days. As if today is going to be the day. Ed’s friends brought him through the storm. As we settled into our night and Ed was feeling drained from the day’s events, another tragedy struck. A former partner of his from the South St Paul Police Department, Officer Cory Slifko, took his life. You may have seen his name on thin blue line profile pictures floating around Facebook. I am putting a face to that name. Officer Slifko deserves all the respect and recognition – he served his community, and sadly, it took too much from him in the end. My day was feeling like it would be the day I become a widow, it was a real nightmare to never wake from for a fellow police wife. We are deeply saddened and in disbelief at this news. Our thoughts and prayers to his family, and our blue family at the South St Paul Police Department.
I don’t know or understand the depths of their pain, but I have looked into my husband’s eyes in the height of his storm and felt helpless to his demons. Cory, I am sorry no one was there to carry you through. I am sorry you paid the price of this job. To put in a career as an officer and come out unscathed, you are lying to yourself. Bumped, bruised, defeated, traumatized, but still standing. That’s the goal. Still here at the end. There could have been two police suicides in Ed’s department that day – one retired, and one active-duty officer. We are all in this together and no one is immune to PTSD. To tell you to reach out most likely will not happen. When you are in the depths of your emotions, help is sometimes the last thing you try for. Ending the pain is all you want. What I will tell you, is check your partners. You have no idea the battle they fight when they are behind closed doors. Later in the day I was writing this, I learned of another officer in Minnesota who took his life. An officer from Rogers. Our thoughts and prayers to his family and department as well. This is no easy road to navigate and no magic pill to cure. It’s something we each need to take a part in. Sometimes it takes a village.
The picture is of Cory (on the left) and Ed (on the right) when they were on the Dakota County SWAT team together. He was one hell of a guy and that is how we choose to remember him. Officer Slifko’s passing hits so close to home. I can only hope and pray that we can all find peace and comfort in the coming weeks. This is a wake-up call for us to reach out and check on our buddies. If you know someone who is struggling, reach out. Cory, we hope and pray that you Rest in Peace. #evenheroesneedbackup