Veterans Community Media Center of San Francisco

Veterans Voices

Walking in Memory of Reuben Paul Santos, Iraq War Veteran

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Out Of The Darkness Community Walk
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Lake Merced, San Francisco

This month the Veterans Media Center of San Francisco pays tribute to the memory of Reuben Paul “Chip” Santos and to the courage of his parents Paula and Ruben. On Sunday, September 23, I participated in the Out of the Darkness Walk* at Lake Merced here in San Francisco. I went especially to support the Santos family who lost their dear son Reuben, an Iraq War Veteran, to suicide. Paula and Ruben speak publicly about their loss in an effort to create greater public awareness and response regarding Veteran suicide.

Reuben Paul “Chip” was Warm Springs/Yakima/Filipino/White and a member of the Warm Springs Tribe of Oregon. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, He was a creative writing major at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. His intelligence, political and literary insight, wit, humor, love of nature and computer games speak of his paradoxical personality. A decorated Army veteran for service from 2000-2003 includes a National Defense Medal for service in Iraq. Reuben lived with dignity and integrity and struggled to survive war yet sadly succumbed to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on October 16, 2009 at the age of 27.

A portion of Reuben’s obituary:

“Reuben Paul “Chip” Santos…Decorated Army veteran 2000-2008, NATO medals for service in S; National Defense Medal for service in Iraq. Gone too soon, the cherished son of Ruben and Paula, and Grandson of Lena Santos. Loving brother of Donovan, Brandon, Ian and Kierin Santos. Brother- in-law of Makani and proud uncle of Sedona Santos. Adored nephew and admired cousin to so many. He will be missed dearly by Waci, Chloe, Mike, Issac, Jasmine and a multitude of others. Member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, a creative writing major at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, Published Writer 2008, screenwriter of “Game of Champions” 2008, actor in other IAIA films. His intelligence, political and literary insight, wit, humor, love of nature and computer games speak of his paradoxical personality. His beautiful smile and hugs have touched us deeply and he will remain in our hearts forever.”

Reuben and Santos family video by Ian Santos


The Paula Santos story of her Son Chip

The increasing rate of suicide among our Veterans is especially alarming.
Here is some information and links regarding suicide prevention.

Side by Side PSA

Everyone can make a difference in the life of a Veteran, whether it’s sticking by a loved one when times get tough, asking the right questions to make sure a Veteran is doing alright, or reaching out for support if you’re concerned about a Veteran you know. It’s OK to not understand what Veterans go through during their service, or when they come back. No matter what’s going on, support is available.

Living Works

A very comprehensive resource for training and education on suicide prevention referred to us by Mary Ellen Salzano. Living Works’ primary focus is improving helper competencies to intervene with persons at risk of suicide…we are the suicide-intervention training company

Veterans Crisis Line 

In 2011, the National Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline was renamed the Veterans Crisis Line to encourage Veterans and their families and friends to make the call. People who know a Veteran best may be the first to recognize emotional distress and reach out for support when issues reach a crisis point—and well before a Veteran is at risk of suicide.

* Out of the Darkness Community Walks benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the leading national nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide. To learn more about AFSP’s mission, research and programs visit http://www.afsp.org
Ellison Horne, Veterans Media Center of San Francisco
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