(KSLA) — In August, Bossier City police Officer Michael Iman delivered a miracle in the middle of Airline Drive at East Texas Street.
He saved the life of a driver, Janis Castine, who stopped breathing while behind the wheel of her car in Bossier City.
“My brother was an amazing man,” Will Iman says with a smile, one of the few smiles he could muster during the hourlong visit with KSLA News 12’s Doug Warner two days before his brother’s funeral.
“P.T.S.D. is not selective,” he adds.
Michael served 21 of his 43 years with the Louisiana National Guard, with active-duty deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, before working the last seven years of his life as a Bossier City police officer.
He spent a lifetime saving other people’s lives but was unable to save his own.
“I think what made this worse, it’s my brother. I never saw that in him and I probably should have,” Will says as he fights back the tears.
Michael took his own life Feb. 14, leaving family members and friends confused and in shock.
"I was aware my brother was struggling," explains Will.
“But like so many service members holding things in, they don’t want to talk about it. My brother was like that.”
Over the final few months of his life, Michael’s struggles continued. But to what degree, only Michael would know for sure.
And even if someone close to Michael had been made aware of the help he needed, for someone suffering from P.T.S.D., that person may not be so anxious to accept it.
“Without a doubt, one of the problems is you’re walking a razor’s edge, a fine line there, not wanting to be too intrusive or push too hard,” explains Will, who is now Army Special Forces after 20 years in uniform.
Family says Michael was seeking help at the local VA hospital in the weeks prior to his suicide, leaving them further stunned and confused.
“For a long time, it was frowned upon in the Army to seek behavioral help and counseling. But it is not that way anymore. We still have a problem with soldiers not wanting to speak out.”
Will suggests, whether a person is serving our country in uniform or not, we all have a duty to reach out and help.
"The next time you shake someone's hand, tell them you love them," explains Will, talking about planting seeds with veterans now before they find themselves in deep struggle.
“Tell them to keep fighting because we need them here. We need them to keep fighting for themselves.”
If you are a veteran or you know a veteran who needs help, you can encourage them to call the Veterans Crisis Line toll-free at (800) 273-8255 or log onto the Veterans Crisis Line website.