Soldier deems crusade to stop military suicides a success, conti - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Soldier deems crusade to stop military suicides a success, continues mission

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We first introduced you to Andrew O'Brien and his story last March. When he was active duty army, the Iraq vet tried to kill himself, but he survived the drug overdose and that's given him a second chance and he's making the most of it.

When we first met O'Brien he was about to embark on a crusade talking about his suicide experience to complete strangers--other vets and their families and military personnel.

"I feel like I'm actually doing something...I have a purpose and I'm doing something important," O'Brien said.

In the last six months he's been all over the country connecting with audiences.

"New Orleans, Des Moines, Austin, San Marcos, San Antonio, L.A., San Diego, Denver, Madison Wisconsin," he said.

The speeches are making a difference. One certainly did with a vet who said he would routinely put the barrel of a loaded pistol in his mouth.

O'Brien read us part of the email he sent him.

"For over a year I'd take my handgun every night, remove the clip and count the bullets…and for every bullet I'd try to find a reason to live, if I couldn't find one I'd put it back in the clip. There were days I could barely come up with one reason and I'd stare into the barrel of that gun wondering if God would forgive me for wanting to stop the pain."

The vet went on to tell O'Brien that one of his talks helped the vet put that gun down.

"When you do these speeches you see people's eyes and they are interested and after they come up, but to actually hear that intense...most people just don't come up and say that. So to hear the intenseness that my speech brought to this guy is just amazing, awesome, I loved it. It's the whole point of doing this," O'Brien said.

O'Brien is not slowing down. His next speech is at the Schofield Barracks in Honolulu, the very place where he tried to kill himself three years ago, which is something that does bring up the dark side of his new vocation.

"My biggest fear is that I lose somebody...you know I help someone, they change and all of a sudden I get an email that says they took their own life. That's my biggest fear because I would feel miserable knowing that I could have helped him and knowing it wasn't enough and now he took his own life...it's a big fear of mine," O'Brien said.

O'Brien's crusade is also the being recorded for an upcoming documentary and MTV is looking at him for a show called "Don't Give Up".

For more information visit wyshproject.org.

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