SGT Wade A Baker
PTSD stole a loving son, brother, father, grandfather, grandson and ex-husband from our family.
Wade Baker was born November 12, 1970 in a small town in central Iowa to Darrell and Candy Baker. He was welcomed home by a 4 year old sister, Laura. Their childhood was the American dream. A loving family that was there every night, playing with friends until the street lights came on and never anything that Mom or Dad could not fix. Summers were filled with friendly games of baseball in the Baker yard and exploring the town and surrounding areas on the backs of the ponies. Winters were a time for sledding, building snow forts and racing electric cars in the basement. Wade was always very active in sports. Wade started wrestling when he was in second grade and the family travelled to many tournaments over the next 11 years. He also competed in football, baseball and track all through high school. He also showed horses with his sister and enjoyed hunting with his Dad. The family home was always filled with friends and laughter. They enjoyed many wonderful family vacations with the best one being a trip to Hawaii for 2 weeks.
He graduated from high school in the spring of 1989. That August, he joined the Army and went to basic training in Fort Benning, Ga. The family drove down to watch him graduate. He was then stationed in Fort Riley, Ks. Wade married his high school sweetheart, Diane, on May 26, 1990 in Melbourne, Iowa. They were stationed in Fort Riley where Wade was deployed to Saudi Arabia in December, 1990 and returned home in May of 1991. This was one of many deployments he would face in his military career. In February 1993 he was sent to Baumholder, Germany. Diane moved to the base in Germany that June. On October 2, 1993 Wade and Diane welcomed their first child, a daughter, Dana Jolene. Dana welcomed a little sister, Kayla Jeanne on January 24, 1996. The family returned to the United States later that same year, and joined their new station at Fort Hood, Texas.
Wade’s daughters were a source of great joy for him. He loved taking them fishing and hunting. He coached their t-ball teams and shared with them his love of the Iowa Hawkeyes. One year for Halloween, Wade spent weeks making Dana a gilly suit to wear. They painted her face in camouflage, and set her in the front yard to scare the kids that came to the door. Dana got scared pretending to be a pile of leaves and decided that she did not want to do it. Wade took her in, cleaned the camo off of her face and dressed her as a princess to take her trick-or-treating.
Wade had a welcoming smile and an infectious laugh. He was always the life of the party and was his happiest when he was surrounded by friends. Wade loved pulling pranks and telling jokes. He was always telling stories and enjoyed sharing them with anyone that would listen. This was a trait that he inherited from his Dad.
PTSD slowly distanced Wade from his family. His parents, grandparents, sister, wife and daughters were lost to the turmoil Wade endured in his mind. His marriage failed and he withdrew himself from his entire family and the friends that cared about him. He started making very poor decisions and needing to find adrenaline rushes in places that were not safe or smart. He missed out on both of his daughter’s high school graduations and the birth of his first granddaughter, Madelyn Grace, who was born October 5, 2014.
Wade had 4 more children, twin boys Mason and Nick on October 15, 2003 and a second set of twin boys, Jackson and Jakobi on January 13, 2006. They knew a totally different Wade than his daughters or the rest of his family knew. The two “parts” of his family were never allowed to become close.
In 2013 Wade moved to North Carolina further distancing himself from his daughters and family in Iowa. It seemed for a time that Wade was improving after his move and he started contacting his family again. Then his young sons and their mother moved down to North Carolina and things quickly took a wrong turn.
Before his life fell apart, before suicide began to sound like a sweet release, Wade Baker was a tough, spirited and proud Military man who loved his country and his family. Wade was an Army veteran. He served in the U.S. Army from August 1989 through November 1998. Wade made it home from multiple deployments, but he was never able to leave the memories behind. He struggled with the demons and monsters in his mind. 22 different medications, numerous types of treatments, frequent trips to the VA and the help of his loyal service dog, Honor, could only suppress the PTSD for so long.
Statistics say that 22 Veterans lose the battle to suicide every day. This time it was my brother, Wade Baker. He left us on August 19, 2015........ He could not take the daily pressure of living with PTSD. He fought for our Country, he fought for our Freedom. He just could not fight the battle within himself. PTSD stole a loving son, brother, father, grandfather, grandson and ex-husband from our family. Sadly, Wade never did have the chance to walk his daughters down the aisle or to meet his granddaughter. His family is anxiously awaiting the birth of his second granddaughter in April 2017.