Born on November 10, 1979 and raised in Richmond, IN from a very military linage family. All he ever said when growing up was that “I want to be in the Army.” He joined the Army in February of 1998, and went to basic training in Fort Benning, GA, and then on to Fort Hood. He went to Bosnia on a peace keeping mission in 1999. Then in 2001, he headed back to Fort Benning as range cadre on the 249 range. In April 2003, he moved on to Fort Riley and became an 1/16 Iron Ranger. In Sept 2003, he was boots on the ground in Ar-Ramadi Iraq. This is the 13 months of his life that really changed him. He found a family, brotherhood and a bond that can never be replaced. He was in 1st PLT B Co attached to C Co. As a platoon, they fought side by side with many other platoons and units. This is where Josh met Dean Rhein.
On his tour/deployment, many amazing men and soldiers were lost in battle. As for 1st Platoon, they were lucky and had ZERO Killed in Action. Everyone made it back alive. Upon returning home, he stayed in 1/16 till April 22, 2006 and got out of active duty and became civil service as Range Control on Fort Riley, where he worked until March, 2018. He was recently promoted to Range Operations Specialist on Fort Riley.
Even though his platoon returned home in one piece, the thing that has claimed lives has been suicide. Josh has made it his mission to bring awareness to Veterans Suicide.
Suicide is now the biggest issue the military faces. It is now on an average of 22 Veteran/service members PER DAY. This is unacceptable!!! Josh has started a group that was at first just on FB; Veterans Suicide Awareness. If he only saves one Veteran, then he feels all his time spent spreading awareness is valuable. Some he knows have been touched, some have been educated. Some he may never meet, but we have to keep spreading awareness.
It is a simple thing. Checking on your brothers, via call, text, social media. Just checking on one another. It may be the lift they needed that day.
Thus was born 22BuddyCheck. On the 22nd of every month, it is your reminder to check on your battle buddies. It may seem small to some, but could be the world to others. Check on one another. We trained together, fought together, through blood, sweat and tears. Now let's live our lives out together. Check On Each Other!!!
Born on May 28, 1977, Dean Rhein served in the U.S. Army from July 10, 1996 to September 27, 2006. Dean was deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003 to 2004 and was part of the 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley, KS. Dean served as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle Commander and Platoon Sergeant. As a Disabled Combat Veteran, Dean battles the demons that come with being an Iraq Combat Veteran and has lost three (3) of his former soldiers to suicide. Dean served in combat with Josh Kegley and that is how they met. Now Dean runs, he runs to help other combat Veterans and runs to help prevent suicide. Dean deals with the pain and the blame, and says, “It is easy to always have it running through your mind, but when I am feeling down, and I don’t find a way to clear my head, my mind starts thinking and I start going to a dark place and suicide creeps up on me.” He says part of those thoughts include the blame he puts on himself. He faced some tough times while deployed. “We were knee-deep up in it so that brings pain to me today because I feel responsible,” says Rhein. “I feel I brought my guys into that stuff even though that was our job. But still you always start blaming yourself. So I put them in that situation… even though we were all in that situation.”
Now Dean works at the VA hospital serving local veterans. Last year, he organized a 9/11 Memorial Run to benefit Veteran Suicide Awareness, and a Veterans Suicide Awareness 22 Hour Walk, Run & Ruck fundraiser. The charity of choice: 22BuddyCheck. As a member of 22BuddyCheck, he reaches out to other Veterans, on the 22nd of each month. They touch base, and “check-in”, to see how each other are doing. Sometimes life is great. Sometimes it is not. But just having someone there to listen can make all the difference.
Dean has been married to his wife Jessica for 15 years. Together, they have two children, Leona and Liam. Both children love to run, and want to be just like Daddy when they grow up.
Born on February 27, 1963 in Ann Arbor, Michigan and raised in Santa Rosa, CA. Within one month of getting married to Tom, she was on her way across the country to start her life as a military spouse. 30 years later, many moves and Air Force Bases, they’re still married and he has retired.
She is incredibly thankful for and humbled by the sacrifices so many men and women in uniform have made for our country. For many, these sacrifices last long after they take off the uniform. She wants to do what she can to show her appreciation and help in any way possible. She plans to do her part by continuing to raise awareness of Veteran Suicide.
Prior to the 9/11 Memorial Run, she was unaware of the number of veterans committing suicide every day. She was incredibly saddened by the statistic and equally saddened by the fact that she wasn’t aware of the number. One is too many and she wants to do whatever she can to stop these suicides entirely.
Colonel Christopher J. Wilson, USAR retired, age 53, passed away on September 8, 2018. His passions were God, family, running, mountain climbing, supporting his fellow military, and enjoying life with those close to him. He was a devoted husband to his wife Sherry of 26 years, and his daughters Haylee and Natalie.
As long as he could remember he wanted to be in the military and grew up reading military history. After graduating from high school in 1983, Chris enlisted in the Army Reserves. When he graduated from Kansas State University he earned his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant through the ROTC program. In 1991 he served as a Military Police Platoon Leader in Desert Storm. He went on in the 1990s to serve as a Company Commander, Aide-de-Camp and operations officer in different commands. In 2003-2004 Chris served in Iraq as a Military Police Battalion Executive Officer.
After this deployment Chris went on to serve in various staff positions and in 2007 was selected to command a battalion. Chris took his battalion to Iraq in 2008-2009. This deployment was his most rewarding experience of his career, leading amazing troops from the Army, Navy and Air Force. After completing command Chris went on to serve as a Chief of Staff and a Deputy Brigade Commander before being assigned to the Headquarters Department of the Army at the Pentagon. While at the Pentagon Chris was promoted to Colonel.
After completing this assignment Chris decided to retire; however, he was called on to deploy one more time. This deployment took him to Kuwait and Turkey in the fight against ISIS. After he returned from this deployment in 2016 he retired after 32 years, 8 months enlisted and commissioned service. Chris has a passion for taking care of soldiers and greatly misses that along with the brotherhood of the Army. Chris wants to continue to be there for soldiers in any way he can.