Veteran’s parents mourn


Mason J. Rockfellow

The flag is being flown at half-staff in honor and memory of 25-year-old BC student and U.S. Army veteran Timothy L. Legget Jr.

Marcus Castro, Contributing Editor

Bakersfield College suffered a loss on Feb. 4 when a student, Timothy L. Legget Jr., 25, took his own life.

He was a U.S. Army veteran who was in the military for four years, eight months.

Legget’s mother Sarown Summers spoke to The Rip about her son the week after he died.

“There have been a handful of occasions where I knew that this could be the last time conversation, but I felt confident that he was going to continue on,” Summers said. “But this North Carolina trip, when he came home, I thought that was when he was going to hurt himself, and I would never see my son again.”

Legget was a first semester student at BC. He was discharged from the Army in September 2015 and came home from North Carolina in October.

Legget’s stepfather of 12 years Christopher Summers and Sharown explained that Legget was a happy guy in the past.

“Tim was fun loving and helpful to everybody. He just always had a smile on his face. When he was young, we called him catfish because his mouth was so big from his big ol’ smile,” said Sharown.

Christopher explained that his stepson loved to play sports, including football and basketball at Highland High School. He also said that he loved to dance.

“He loved to dance. If music was on, he would just randomly dance,” said Christopher.

Christopher explained that during the first month and a half since Legget was home, he was more involved with everyone. He went on to say that it was around Thanksgiving when Legget really retracted.

“He was just in his room. He would come out though, and tell me ‘hi’ every day. Sometimes we would have a little conversation, and sometimes he would just go back. He just mentally was not there. He just changed,” said Sharown.

BC Veterans Club president Benjamin Lindquist explained that Legget was very quiet and reclusive. He also explained that they didn’t engage him, as they should have.

“We didn’t engage him as we should with every veteran. Every veteran that comes in, we want to make sure we engage them and get to know them so that we can help identify any kind of signs later on,” said Lindquist.

Lindquist explained that a big problem is that 22 veteran soldiers commit suicide a day.

“We as a veteran community take it hard because it is another one of our brothers that has fallen,” said Lindquist. “It’s one of those things that can be preventable.”

Legget had a 1-year-old baby girl who will be turning 2 in March. His baby stayed in North Carolina with her mom, and the mother made it difficult for him to see his child via Facetime.

Sharown said she believes that her son not being able to see his child played a major role in his decision to take his own life.

“I think that was just like ‘I can’t do this anymore’,” said Sharown.

Sharown explained that her son was very reserved.

“Aside from this suicidal ideation, he didn’t discuss his feelings. It wasn’t something he was familiar with. He didn’t use those tools growing up,” said Sharown.

Legget discussed his suicidal thoughts with his mother. She explained that he didn’t want her to tell anyone else.

“When he called me the first time about those thoughts, I knew right then that this is pretty important because he would never talk to anybody about anything,” said Sharown.

When asked what they would say to people dealing with or people around people dealing with suicidal tendencies, Christopher said, “I didn’t think he would ever do that to himself. So I didn’t take it seriously, and that’s the one regret that in have. I would say take it seriously and pay attention. Just encourage to try to get some help in some way shape or form.”

Sharown said that she feels that military agencies should inform the parents of the current condition of the soldier when they are discharged.

Sharown wanted to include that her son left a note when he passed. She said, “When he passed, he left a note, and he said he only came home to spend time with me and I thought that was just very sweet.”