North Platte woman makes donation from settlement to Soldiers Heart

A non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and healing veterans who struggle with PTSD is receiving a substantial donation from a North Platte woman who's combat veteran brother committed suicide. Kara Hawkins has contributed a donation of $50,000 to Soldiers Heart, in honor of her late brother, U.S. Army Specialist Phillip Hatcher.

Hawkin's Attorney, Maren Chaloupka said the wrongful death lawsuit claimed that Phillip committed suicide in the Lincoln County jail in 2008 after being removed from a suicide watch without consultation from mental health professionals. Chaloupka says Phillip was identified as a possible suicide risk each of the following three days, but no one ever summoned a mental health professional.

This February, Kara Hawkins settled the claim against Lincoln County for Phillip's wrongful death. While the total monetary amount of the settlement is confidential, it was sufficient to enable Hawkins to donate $50,000 to Soldiers Heart.

Hawkins said she was grateful that her case could be resolved without a trial. She says from the start, she wanted Phillip's case to be about prevention and change. Now she feels his death "will not be in vain."

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