The death of an Oklahoma soldier struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder prompts action. The parents of a soldier, who had PTSD and was shot and killed by Tulsa police during a standoff, are working to create something positive out of such a tragic loss.
Cody Young's parents and friends are teaming up with local experts on PTSD to develop a strategy to get veterans the help they need.
Talking about her son's battle with PTSD and his death is hard for Angie Young, especially one day after what would have been his 23rd birthday.
"He just liked to have fun. He was a friend to everyone. He had a big heart," Angie said.
The best memories are happy times, but Young said when her son returned from Afghanistan in 2012, everyone, including Cody, knew something was wrong. The effects of post-traumatic stress disorder were immediate.
"You really didn't know how he was going to be from one minute to the next minute," she said.
Last month, Tulsa police responded to several gunshots fired at Cody Young's apartment. He was shot and killed by police after firing a shotgun at officers.
Young said her son, who immediately tried to get help for PTSD when he got home from his deployment, often got frustrated by the difficulty of navigating through the process to get help.
"He would get so frustrated; it almost came to the point where he would just give up," Angie said.
She is working with the Veterans Initiative in Tulsa to try to develop a plan to better help veterans with PTSD. The hope is to create a kind of one stop shop.
Carla Tanner, with the Community Service Council, said, "To be able to come in and have someone help them with getting enrolled in school, getting mental health help, getting connected with a peer."
Tanner said having someone to help guide returning soldiers through the process of getting help is critical.
"This need is only going to escalate," Tanner said.
Cody's mother doesn't want other families to lose someone they love.
"The last three weeks for me have been total Hell," Angie said.
The group plans to meet each month to evaluate how to get the program going, how to get funding and to discuss any new services that could help veterans with PTSD.