SPC STEPHEN E. COLLEY
05/16/2007, FORT HOOD, TEXAS, U.S.A.
MAJ ALAN E. COLLEY
09/07/2017, HOUSTON, TX, U.S.A
The Colleys still grapple with the deaths of two of their sons. This is a military family including Edward Colley, the father, a retired Air Force Captain, and a daughter who is a disabled Air Force Veteran.
Since 2007, the family has mourned their son Stephen’s death. He was a U.S Army veteran. In 2017 tragedy struck again with the death of their eldest son, Alan, also an Army veteran.
“They were terrific kids,” their mother, Kathy Colley, said. “They were proudly serving in the military, following their dad’s footsteps.”
Stephen E. Colley, one of six Colley children, took his own life on May 16, 2007. He had been deployed to Iraq with the U.S. Army and was later stationed at a base in Texas. He was a 2003 Valencia High School graduate. He served his country honorably which was important to him. But he was troubled on redeployment. He feared the stigma associated with seeking psychological help from the military, and did not want to jeopardize his career as a soldier.
While serving in the U.S. Army, Stephen suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, but didn’t receive help from military resources, according to his father.
“They were both proud to serve,” said Edward Colley, their father. “But when a soldier tries to get help and doesn’t get it, he basically decided to solve his own problem.”
Ten years later, the Colley’s eldest son, MAJ Alan E. Colley, took his own life on September 7, 2017.
Like his brother, Alan served in Iraq with the U.S. Army. He was deployed also to Uganda and El Salvador.
“Alan was a brilliant young man, really a true genius,” said Frank Ferry, former Santa Clarita Mayor and friend of the family.
“To Alan, the people that served under him weren’t just bodies and numbers, but he knew their names, their families, and their kids names; he made a point to know people he served with,” said Kathy Colley.
Alan Colley graduated Canyon High School in 1996. He graduated from Cornell University and attended the University of Michigan Law School.
“He had this spark that made him want to be deeply involved with his world and his local community,” said Kathy Colley. “And this manifested into him becoming an exceptional leader in the service.”
“Alan was tortured after Stephen,” Edward Colley said. “He couldn’t reach an understanding about losing his baby brother.”
Alan Colley died in Houston. He is survived by his wife Marcela, two daughters, extended family, friends, and brothers in arms.
Edward Colley advocates for service members who are afraid of losing jobs or clearances in the military if they reach out. The potential for losing career status is a barrier to many individuals in need of and seeking help.
“Whenever I’m able to talk to any soldier, I tell them to try to get the help they need,” Mr. Colley added.
“Any soldier that’s in trouble, please do all that you can, because everybody wants you with us,” Kathy Colley stated.