KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — Members of a Kyle neighborhood came together on Sunday to help those whose cars had been vandalized by a series of tire cuts — as well as help shed light on struggling veterans with their mental health.
Earlier this month, more than 30 cars were damaged in the Kyle’s Woodlands and Cool Springs neighborhoods, police said. The family of the man charged with the beatings said in a statement to KXAN that he was an Army veteran struggling with PTSD and other mental illnesses, and apologized for his acts.
“We apologize for the problems caused by the actions of our family members. He is an Army veteran who suffers from PTSD as well as several other mental illnesses,” the family said in a statement. actively helping him and are in touch with VA resources His mother suggested that the Cool Springs HOA organize a fundraiser to remind us all that we are neighbors together.
The suspect’s mother suggested that the neighborhood hold a fundraiser to help those affected financially. On Sunday, the neighbors held a silent auction and bake sale, the proceeds of which are expected to be shared by those involved.
“So many people reached out to me and even the people who reached out to me and said ‘I had a flat tire’ they then followed up and said ‘what can I bring to help fundraising? “Said Cady Lu, a Cool Springs Resident and co-organizer of the fundraiser. “And so it’s just been a lot of community support and outpouring of just wanting to help.”
Resident Joyce Kaloustian approached Lu about the idea after speaking with the suspect’s mother, who is also Kaloustian’s neighbor. From there, Lu worked with the Cool Springs HOA Social Committee to help plan the event.
Kaloustian described the suspect’s mother as a kind and gentle woman and noted the serious and often overlooked mental health complications that many veterans struggle with. Kaloustian said she hopes more people understand the nuances of veterans’ PTSD and mental health complications and approach the situation with empathy and grace.
Data from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing reports that 30% of active duty and reserve service members who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan have developed a mental health condition that requires treatment. Of these 30%, only half of them will receive treatment.
In Texas, 514 veterans died by suicide in 2019, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. While this number is not significantly higher than national rates, the VA noted that the figure was significantly higher than the suicide rate for the general population.
While Kaloustian said there was frustration and negativity surrounding the situation at first, she said she commended the family’s efforts to apologize and help organize Sunday’s fundraiser. . She urged people to reserve judgment on the suspect, adding that it can be easy to judge the situation without knowing his full story.
“I helped the mother contact resources to make sure he received care to deal with his mental issues,” she said. “I think it’s great that everyone is just willing to come together and help each other.”