My name is Tom McConaghy. I have an interest in joining your Board to help The Roy Williams Foundation. I became aware of the Foundation through my friend Dane DeVoy back when it was founded. I spoke with Bret Collyer about a week ago about the possibility. I am humbled to be asked to join such a wonderful Foundation keeping Roy's name alive and promoting the mission of preventing or ending suicides within the Veteran and First Responder communities by renewing life's purpose, instilling hope and fostering a community.
I knew Roy briefly just prior to his suicide. I met him during a roadside encounter. During this interaction, I was drawn to Roy due to his military and law enforcement service. I was deeply saddened to learn of his death the day after he took his own life.
I too am a veteran of the Oklahoma Army National Guard. I served for nine (9) years as an infantry soldier specializing in mortars. I attained the rank of Staff Sergeant and served as the 45th ICT Chief of Smoke from 2001-2003. I also served as a police officer with the Stillwater (Oklahoma) Police Department. I was a Sergeant for them for several years before resigning in 2013. Since that time, I have been a resident of Chaffee County.
I own a small ranch north of Salida where I raise many different animals (horses, donkeys, goats, chickens, miniature Highland cattle, and llamas). We are in a partnership with a woman in Colorado Springs and are currently helping her develop a string of therapy/pack llamas. We primarily use the llamas for therapy with soldiers from Ft. Carson and students at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs campus.
I too had my struggles with PTSD due to my law enforcement career that included eight (8) years as a Narcotics Investigator and ten (10) years as a member of the SWAT team where I was trained and deployed as a sniper on numerous occasions. In the worst days, I was at high risk for suicide and often contemplated taking my own life. I was fortunate to have a solid support system and was lucky to find just the right counselor to help guide me on a path to recovery. That recovery continues today.