BERLIN CENTER, Ohio (WKBN) — On Saturday night in Berlin Center, about 200 people came together to honor veterans who have died by suicide.
A well-known statistic is that 22 veterans commit suicide daily — that number is from 2012. It’s gone up since then. According to the VA’s 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, about 26 veterans commit suicide every day.
Jennifer Costello is the mother of one of those veterans.
“He was such a jokester, so full of life. He was like the Energizer Bunny. He loved everyone, he didn’t know a stranger,” she said.
Costello lost her son Jacob Crewson to suicide this spring. He was 25-years-old and served in the Marines.
“They go out, they train together. They form this tremendous beautiful friendship, bond,” she said.
Costello said Crewson was medically discharged after getting injured during training — that’s when she started to see a change.
“He didn’t have a purpose. He didn’t know who he was anymore, but he was also very private, he didn’t share a whole lot about what he was feeling inside,” she said.
Costello noticed that when he son would hear about other soldiers passing, he took the news hard.
“He would lose a veteran, a Marine from Camp Lejeune and some of them he knew at the beginning and we would watch him grieve. Then we would watch him grieve over another fallen hero, another Marine, another soldier and his dad and I were just so baffled because he didn’t know them. I said, ‘Jakey, I just don’t understand because you didn’t know them,’ and he stood up and said, ‘Mom, no, you don’t understand,” Costello said.
On March 28 of this year, she got the news that would change her family forever.
“Their story continues as long as we say their name, when we stop saying the veteran’s names, then their story ends,” Costello said.
She encourages anyone who might be struggling to reach out for help.
At a special military salute that was part of the ceremony, veterans carried out 22 pairs of boots to symbolize the veterans who die by suicide every day. Organizers presented Jennifer with a special painting commemorating her son.