The widow of a local Marine Corps sergeant is hopeful the proceeds of a raffle can help her and her son inch closer to the return of a normal life.
Jamie Hoots was the wife of Travis Hoots, who served two tours of duty in Iraq in the Marines, finishing as a squad leader in the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Marines Gulf Company. Travis died in July from an overdose on prescription drugs after a lengthy battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Jamie and Travis had been married for thirteen years. She says she could tell there was something different when he returned home from the second tour of duty from Iraq nearly eight years ago.
Jamie says her husband sought help for his PTSD, but it never seemed to help.
“I could tell that it was really rough on him, and he would talk about it some, but not much,” Hoots explains. “He was really upset about it every day, and after he got out is when it got really bad. They all try to cover it up and pretend that it’s not there, because it’s so hard to deal with every day.”
Jamie was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident in 2011, forcing her out of her home due to her being put in a wheelchair. She says Travis had a difficult time dealing with that as Travis couldn’t drive to see her from Roodhouse.
Jamie was living with her family in Jacksonville when she found out about her husband’s death.
The Marine Corps Leagues’ West Central Illinois Leathernecks Detachment 1177 is helping out Jamie. An anonymously-donated quilt is being raffled off as a fundraiser, the proceeds of which would benefit the Hoots family.
C.O. Smith, the Marine Corps League Department of Illinois commandant, says the Leathernecks hope to match the total funds raised by the quilt.
“Our mission statement tells us that we take care of Marines, wives, widows, children, and orphans of Marines. We’ve raised money for the Wounded Warrior program, Marines Helping Marines, and injured marines [with the] Semper Fi Fund,” says Smith.
“We’ve helped a lot of people out; that’s what the Marine Corps League is all about. We really take care of Marines and [Fleet Marine Force] Corpsman that have served Marines and their families.”
Travis Hoots first saw his son Dalton when he returned from his first deployment; the boy was several months old. They were together for six months before he returned to service for four years.
Jamie Hoots hopes the proceeds from the raffle will help her and her now-11-year-old son move into a new home as she continues through physical therapy.
“That’s all my son wants is his own bedroom back. That’s all he talks about,” she says. “He’s getting at that age where he has to have his space.”
Within Hoots’ unit, five soldiers took their own lives as a result of PTSD. Hoots says the men served under her husband, and that they would all call him for support.
Hoots says anyone with military members in their family needs to keep an eye on them when they come home.
“Make sure that they’re all getting the help that they need, because you never know. They try to hide it so good whenever they’re hurting,” Hoots says. “I could tell when Travis was hurting every day. It’s just finding the help and getting the help; [that’s] the most important thing.”
The raffle drawing will be held on November 10th. Tickets are $5 each or $10 for three.
For tickets, send a check payable to MCL Det. 1177 along with your name, address and phone number to C.O. Smith, 1411 West Walnut Street, Jacksonville IL 62650. Donations will also be accepted.
Travis Hoots photo courtesy of Buchanan and Cody Funeral Home.