Dan Flaugh

Hundreds of people are expected to take part in an event Saturday morning to honor a former soldier who was a lifelong resident of the eastern Iowa town of Vinton.

Dan Flaugh took his own life last December, just a few years after he was discharged from the military.

Flaugh’s friend, Georgia Sysouchanh, says she and others didn’t suspect Dan was struggling with the readjustment to civilian life.

 “He fought in Iraq, in the worst part of Baghdad. He saved a lot of lives, but he had to see a lot of things that most of us wouldn’t know how to handle,” Sysouchanh said.

“Looking back now, (Dan) hid his true emotions and true feelings. We didn’t know how much he was struggling, but I think he was struggling with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and depression. I think he had survivor’s guilt, as well. Dan was a single guy with no kids and some buddies who he was over there with had wives and children at home and they didn’t get to come back from Iraq.”

Sysouchanh is one of the organizers of “A Flaughless 5K,” a walk/run that will raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project — an organization that helps veterans heal physically and mentally.

“We just want to raise awareness about the signs of PTSD and let (veterans) know Wounded Warrior and other programs are out there. They need to take advantage of (the programs), ask for help and get the help they need,” Sysouchanh said.

The Flaughless 5K will begin at Riverside Park in Vinton with registration starting at 9 a.m. Sysouchanh is expecting to raise $3,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Learn more here: http://www.flaughless.com/