East Bay Veteran, Musician Suffers Personal Setback In Fight Against PTSD

It was one year ago and, clearly, things were just about the happen for John Preston.

The Danville Marine and Iraq War Veteran had just re-booted his music career and people were beginning to take not of his songs and the message they carried.

More Americans, Preston believed, needed to know about the tragedy that was 22 veterans a day committing suicide.

"A number that, the first time I heard it blew my mind," Preston said in January of 2015.

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So, for the past year, while still working as a Palo Alto firefighter, Preston has poured everything he had into getting the word out.

"Countless hours that have drained life and family," Preston said.

It was work, that was beginning to pay off.

Sales of Preston's music were better than ever. A music video of his latest song was viewed hundreds of thousands of times. John was being asked to perform, speak, and write on the issue of post traumatic stress on a national level.

Yes, things were happening just as Preston had planned.

Life, however, has a nasty way of sometimes not following the tune.

"It was January. January 13th. My brother was a Marine ..." Preston said.

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Preston's older brother was a police officer in their home state of Kentucky. Like so many other veterans Preston knows, his brother was suffering from PTSD.

"He kissed his kids goodbye, got in his car, drove down the street, and took his life," Preston said.

Of all the lives Preston has been trying to save, he couldn't save one of the ones closest to him.

It was enough to make him quit trying altogether.

"I said it out loud. I did. I had failed," Preston said.

But Preston is a unique combination: a singer and a soldier, with always one more song, one more battle left in him.

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He has promised to redouble his efforts, though in a slightly different direction. Preston's goal now is to not just raise awareness about the lives that have been lost, but stop them from happening.

Preston wants to let struggling veterans know that, no matter what they may think, their loved ones are never better off without them.

"I promise you it's not better. That's what our campaign is going to be. 

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