The Ripple Effect – Helping Veterans and Families Heal

It’s critical that we come together to stop the senseless SUICIDE of the proud warriors who protect us.

My name is Wendy Shackley and I am the Gold Star Mom of Joel Alan McNeil E6 US Army.  Joel died of Suicide January 14, 2014 and I wanted to share his story.  Please read his words taken from his journal during his hospital stay after returning from Afghanistan:

K, this is the second time. I’m actually gonna try to do this, this time. I’m not sure where to start so I’m gonna write what comes to mind I guess my main problem is my anger. I know I got a problem with it, it hurts my marriage, my job, my friendships. It started out as a front, just a mask I put on because I was scared. Then over the years I slowly became who I pretended to be. 

I didn’t think that my deployments were that hard on me, but they were to hard on me. The constant threat on my life, the bombs, improvised explosive devices, the dead bodies, losing people. I’m surprised I didn’t lose it earlier then I did. My first deployment was a lot easier then my second though, not easy, but easier. I defiantly got the shit end of the stick on both. I have mixed feelings about them though. When I was over there I loved it, I don’t know but I did. And now I’m broken, fucked in the head because of the military. I’m just another grunt that can’t make it in society. 

This personal account is difficult to read but now you can see WHY I do what I do. To see more of our story go to the following

How do I do what I do? The Ripple Effect was born when my son died. I knew there were other families out there suffering just like me. I have committed to educate the public that we have a reintegration problem.

I do this by speaking at workshops, roundtables, panels and movies. The Ripple Effect has done over 14 Suicide Prevention Workshops at locations including Glendale Community College and The City of Peoria between September 2015-September 2017. We have touched over 5000 lives connecting Veterans and their families to services needed to reintegrate through our workshops, referrals and one on one personal interactions. Imagine if each one of those 5000 people touched just ONE other person and made a RIPPLE???!!!

My focus this year is working with Veterans, Families and our local Universities. The Ripple Effect plans to collaborate with the Behavioral Community to educate our public. This year’s 1st event is still in the planning stages so stay tuned for the announcement!!!

What can you do to help? First, if you have a corporation, church or organization where we can speak, please call me 260-312-3756. Second, we have two fundraisers currently planned.

Save the dates:

Saturday, April 21st 10-2 at Estrella Mountain Community College “Paint a Scarf”.  This is a fun event for the whole family.

To be announced

TRE Golf Tournament sponsored by Pulice Construction.

For other ways to support our mission to bring the Veteran Suicide to ZERO go to our website at




Making New Traditions – The Ripple Effect

Making New Traditions

The loss of my son Joel Alan McNeil was devastating to me. It left a hole in my family that could never be filled.
I have chosen to add a new holiday tradition to my life. This new tradition is a remembrance service where I give a picture of my wonderful son Joel and words of love in honor of his life.
I join with other families and honor them as well. I still am sad, yet I am also joyful as I celebrate his life.



The Southwest Veterans Chamber of Commerce (SWVCC) announced today that The Ripple Effect is one of two recipients of its quarterly Veteran Charitable Contribution Program. SWVCC will contribute $500.00 to The Ripple Effect to support its local programs.

The Ripple Effect press release 3.17.16


THE RIPPLE EFFECT – Helping Veterans and Families HEAL! This organization has been created in honor of my son Joel to prevent suicide among Veterans.

The Southwest Veterans Chamber of Commerce (SWVCC) presented a $500.00 check to THE RIPPLE EFFECT , who is Helping Veterans and Families HEAL! This organization has been created in honor of my son Joel to prevent suicide among Veterans.. SWVCC is proud to be able to provide financial support to this most worthy cause. To learn more about or to donate to THE RIPPLE EFFECT please visit them at