Army National Guard Sergeant John Darwin Reese Toombs of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, a beloved son, brother, soldier, hero and friend.

John was a native and a lifelong resident of Rutherford County. He was veteran of the Army National Guard, 230th Signal Company, attaining the rank of sergeant. SGT Toombs served six years with Army National Guard deploying to Afghanistan for one year from 2011 – 2012 in support of the Global War on Terror.

SGT John Toombs was in a 90 day Residential Recovery Treatment Program at Alvin C York VA in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for substance abuse and PTSD. On November 22, 2016, he was abruptly kicked out for very trivial reasons. Following his removal from the program, SGT Toombs posted a video to his Facebook page, “I came for help and they just threw me out like a stray dog in the rain,” Sgt. Toombs said in the video.

He was left to wonder the campus until the morning of November 23, when he hung himself in a building that was under construction on the VA Campus. He was 32 years old.

A Bill was before the Committee on Veterans Affairs, sponsored by Congressman Scott DesJarlais to name that very building after him.

On September 25, 2018, in a bipartisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Congressman Scott DesJarlais’ bill to designate the Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Facility at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Alvin C. York Medical Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, as the “Sergeant John Toombs Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Facility.”

John is survived by his father, David (Susan) Toombs; mother, Dana (Rick) Davis; step-sister, Megan (Matthew)King; niece and nephew, Olivia and Easton King. He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Albert Reese and Donna Toombs and maternal grandparents, Thomas and Juanita Cox.

Shared from NPR
David Toombs holds a photo of his son, John, at his home in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Former Sgt. John Toombs developed a drug problem after he left the Army and was in a residential treatment program at the Murfreesboro Veterans Affairs center. In 2016, he killed himself on the VA campus.

Kristina Krug for NPR

A Veteran’s Suicide Pushes the VA To Do Better: NPR 

Man takes own life at Murfreesboro VA hospital: WKRN

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