Veteran Suicide


September, 2017




When a veteran suicide happens, we may wonder what we could have done, or why the signs went unnoticed, or any of those long lists of what ifs. It may help us in the grieving process to try and go back to understand and wish we could have done something different. We also realize the obvious faults in a system that fail others much too often. Sometimes we may get inspired to act and do things moving forward in an effort to prevent future tragedies and honor those that have been lost. That is exactly what Karla Thompson did upon hearing of her fellow veteran’s suicide.

Kristina Lee Cooley July 13-1993 – Feb. 15, 2017 Rest peacefully Kristina, we have the watch.

It’s hard to believe that seemingly small efforts can make any difference in the many devastating issues that we face today. Sometimes we think it’s impossible to make an impact with only a few dollars or a few gestures or even just a few prayers or in this case a few small whales. But it is those small efforts that add up together within a community of passionate individuals to make those major differences.

“I never knew her, but she was a sister at sea non-the less.”

Karla took her empathy and grieving to action and started a campaign in her own wood shop to raise money and awareness for veteran suicide. She cut out and sold 106 small wooden whales that are now displayed all over the country by those who purchased them in support of Karla’s fundraiser honoring Kristina Cooley, her fellow Coast Guard veteran who lost her fight on February 15, 2017. There are now 106 visual cues on someone’s desk or shelf prominently showing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ‘1-800-273-TALK (8255)’ and a reminder to:

 Drawing by Karla Thompson for 22 Day Push Up Challenge

“Just keep Swimming”

But wait there’s more, before she sent those whales to their future guardians she carried them 36 miles while participating in a 22 Hour Ruck/Walk supporting awareness of veteran suicide. She was in essence carrying the burden of those veterans that fight the battle in taking or contemplating taking their own life as the only alternative that they feel can heal their pain.

Karla and the other participants of the 22 Hour Ruck/Walk22 Hour Ruck/Walk coordinated by Rob Cavazos and Aaron Morales.

But again, she didn’t stop there. After a successful campaign with her handmade whales raising over $4500 for Stop Soldier Suicide she inspired others to participate in a 22 day push up challenge to continue to honor those that lost their battle to veteran suicide and in memory of Kristina who would have turned 24 on July 13. By designing and selling the shirts she continued to raise more money.

Cover Me Veterans™

“the only thing I’m getting paid with is the hope that this can save a life of a service member through support and love from friends and family.”

Her artwork and creations she uses for fundraising, which is also her own therapy in healing, is nothing short of amazing!


Karla continues to give back little by little in big ways and has inspired so many others to support and do what they can to raise awareness and hopefully help someone connect to help. She is now even giving back with her artistic talent to assist the latest tragedy struck by Hurricane Harvey. She is the essence of the symbol of what I intended in creating the “Drops in the Ocean” pendants and I’m humbled by the amazing things she has accomplished and continues to do for others!

Cover Me Veterans™

Research shows people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks about them in a caring way. Findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal ideation.

Cover Me Veterans™

September is National Suicide Prevention Month and for this month’s pendant, September’s Siren, Halcyon Reflections LLC will donate 25% of all sales to Karla’s charity of choice, Cover Me Veterans

The Siren, or Mermaid, in this month’s pendant represents Hans Christian Andersen’s perspective in that the mermaid’s song is a compassionate attempt to calm the fears of sailors who are about to drown in a storm at sea. It is my hope that through Karla and through honoring Kristina we can be inspired to become more aware of those around us and sense their storms that they fight within themselves. It’s a reminder to take even just a small step in spreading awareness or connecting someone to help.

15% off for veterans, first responders, and public servants!

If you are a veteran, first responder, or public servant click here for your 15% off coupon to be applied to any of Halcyon Reflections LLC products or services. 

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