LEHIGHTON -- You won’t be able to miss the towering silhouette standing along Sergeant Stanley Hoffman Boulevard at the Lehighton Veterans Memorial Park in Carbon County.
The 10-foot high steel structure is a memorial to Mike Wargo, an Army veteran who took his own life in 2013.
“This is very emotional because this is a silhouette of our son. This is his final resting place in Lehighton. We had several places to put him, but this is home,” said Michael Wargo, his father.
The War at Home Mission 22 created the silhouette to honor those who battled overseas but lost their lives at home.
The silhouette in Lehighton is a photograph of Michael Wargo that was cut from steel.
The remaining will serve as a traveling memorial for War at Home, which raises awareness for soldiers suffering from PTSD.
Michael was a high school biology teacher in Delaware and joined the Army after 9/11.
“He never grew up playing Army boys or playing to be a solider, but something clicked that he need to serve his country, and he did. He served it well,” said Sarah Wargo, his mother.
He served in Afghanistan and saw 10 of his close friends die in battle.
Michael eventually came home in 2005 and suffered from what his father called "Survivors Guilt."
“Our son was back. He wasn't shot. He had his arms and his legs and everything was looking up for him, and we were happy, but he was different, and I thought he was OK because he came back from war, but he suffered in silence for eight years,” said Michael Wargo.
Michael ended his life in May 2013.
The Wargo family hopes the silhouette stands as a shining light for those suffering from PTSD.
“We need to talk about it. We need to have other people reach out. If someone is struggling, we need to stand up a little, but maybe just call or a visit to let them know they are not alone,” said Michael Wargo.
At the end of the ceremony, Sarah Wargo gave Michael’s daughter Brianna her Gold Star to remember her father will be forever a hero.