East Providence family grieving fallen soldier gets surprise all the way from Florida
EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – A family in East Providence grieving their loved one, a U.S. Army veteran who took his own life last year, got the surprise of a lifetime when a complete stranger showed up on their doorstep to honor the fallen soldier.
“He survived Afghanistan. I guess he just couldn’t survive life.”
It’s been six months since Jane Crevier of East Providence lost her son, Joseph “Joey” R. Crevier II.
“Just like you see in the movies. Pretty bad. It’s the worst thing you can go through,” Jane said.
The 30-year-old Army veteran served in Afghanistan but, after what he experienced there, wasn’t the same when he returned home.
“He came home, and then, he got a little… unhappy. What really hurt him most was a little girl that he couldn’t, he saw her blow up I guess on one of those land mines. When he came home, he tattooed her face and it all went down after that.”
After Afghanistan, Joey moved to North Carolina with his wife and children. But things got worse, physically and mentally, his mom said.
“After a few years it got to him I guess, and he had a lot of pain; Back pain, concussions, they told him he probably had that CTE, he was probably going to get Alzheimer’s.”
Joey sought out help but was still struggling.
“He met another girl, he had a fiance, and just kept getting worse and worse. On November 4th… he decided he couldn’t do it anymore.
“A lot of times veterans, or anyone with depression, threaten suicide but they don’t actually do it. I think the family always thinks they’re not gonna really do it and then they do. So that’s the worst part,” Jane said.
Last month, she was at her East Providence home with Joey’s children when she heard a knock at the door. Standing there was a stranger by the name of Korey Shaffer.
“He just knocked and I literally thought it was the solar panel people cause they keep showing up! And he’s like, I just took a train ride 24 hours from Florida. I just wanted to give you something to honor your son.”
Shaffer unveiled a plaque with Joey’s photo, along with other items to memorialize him.
“So we let him in and he said he himself was serving in Afghanistan, they actually were right next to each other physically, and realized they knew each other… that he also had PTSD.”
Shaffer started the Til Valhalla Project, an organization that sells apparel to make free plaques for the families of fallen soldiers.
“He said he decided, he made one plaque just to help himself and decided, like, it was therapeutic. So he started making them and he just told me he’ll never be forgotten. (We) just talked and cried and then I said thank you, you know, what can you say? It was amazing.”
The surprise was caught on video and went viral on the organization’s page.
Now the Creviers not only have a support group they didn’t know existed but a special gift to keep them going.
“He would want us to kind of move forward and do the best that we can for the kids and for us and for the years that we’re gonna be here without him,” said Sarah Adams, Joey’s sister.
“It was pretty amazing for someone else to call him a hero when we all thought he was already,” added Jane.
To learn more about the Til Valhalla Project, click here. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression and contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255.