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Illinois state park to honor veterans lost to PTSD

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CHANNAHON, Ill. (AP) — A state park in northern Illinois will soon be home to a memorial for military veterans who have committed suicide after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Forgotten Warrior Memorial Wall at Channahon State Park costs $80,000, and was funded through private donations to Chicago-based nonprofit K9s For Veteran Warriors, which gives service dogs to veterans with PTSD and provides the dogs’ food and medical care.

“We wanted to acknowledge that sons, daughters, brothers and sisters have not died in vain,” group CEO Michael Tellerino told The (Joliet) Herald-News. “We hope this will give some healing to their families and raise public awareness.”

Tellerino said it’s appropriate to have memorials for veterans who’ve lost their lives in battle, but that those who have ended their lives after suffering from PTSD are often left out.

“How can we honor them for paying the ultimate price?” Tellerino said. “They come home with wounds you can’t see. People don’t understand how serious this is.”

The mostly granite memorial will be constructed in an existing circular turnaround area of the park. Families will volunteer to have individual bricks etched with their loved ones’ names.

Tellerino said state legislators and Illinois State Parks and Recreation have already approved of the project. The memorial is expected to open in November.

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