CHARLOTTE, N.C. – While Christmas can be a joyous time for people surrounded by loved ones, it can also be a time spent reflecting on loved ones lost. This year, that is settling in unexpectedly for one South Carolina family.
Sugar Jeffcoat, mother of four, says she and her husband Colin were married in 1999. Colin was a Combat Corpsmen in the Navy.
“The goal was to get married and him get out of the Navy and us start a life together,” Sugar explained.
However, after just two years, the September 11th terror attack happened. Sugar tells NBC Charlotte’s Rachel Rollar her husband felt like he wasn’t finished serving his country. Colin Jeffcoat joined the Army National Guard as a Medic for three deployments. Ultimately, this pushed back the couple’s plans of him getting out and fully starting that life together until 2012.
When Colin returned to the US, Sugar said, he was a lot more on edge.
“I really chalked it up to him trying to get acclimated," Sugar said.
Sugar was homeschooling the couple’s four children and said she knew it was a lot to walk back into. Things really changed though when Colin’s fellow medic committed suicide this past September.
Sugar remembers the car ride home from the funeral.
"He said to me, I understand you just can't make it shut off. Sometimes you can’t make your mind turn off."
Sadly, her husband couldn't either. Two months later in November Colin took his own life, leaving behind those four beautiful children: Cole, Olivia, Jonah, and Judah.
“What you do matters and you're not replaceable. Your families can't replace you and your country can't replace you,” Sugar said.
Her oldest son, Cole, using his love of Star Wars in an Instagram post to cope with the loss of his dad.
"My father was like Anakin, he kept all of his emotions on the inside, trying to conceal them from the rest of the world…I hope this can be a lesson for anyone who bottles everything up, try not to it isn't healthy,” he read.
Now Sugar is trying to show her family and others there’s not only hope, but help.
Kristina Burr, a former Army Medic herself, has been a bit of an angel for the family. She was based with Colin Jeffcoat in South Carolina. Now she is working with Mission 22 on her own time to raise money for the Jeffcoat family and other veterans suffering with PTSD.
On December 14th Kristina is hosting a fundraiser at Hoppin - Charlotte’s newest Self Pour Taproom. You can bring your Christmas gifts to be wrapped for a donation, there will be raffles, and a silent auction. Proceeds will go to the Jeffcoat family and Mission 22.
While at the NBC Charlotte studio, Kristina told the family Red Ventures has decided to match dollar for dollar what they raise. Mission 22 has three major programs: Funding veterans to receive treatment for PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and other issues they may be facing.
Location: Hoppin 1402 Winnifred St, Charlotte, NC 28203