A man in North Carolina paid a good deed forward in honor of his late stepbrother Joshua Zamora, a Marine veteran who recently “ended his battle” with PTSD.
Jonathan Full and his brother Stephen were having a meal with their children at Chick-fil-A when they decided to surprise a group of 11 servicemen with the generous gesture of paying their bill in remembrance of Joshua and to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“We wanted to use it as a teaching moment for our boys … to show respect and honor for the men and women that fight for this country every day,” Stephen Full told Fox News. “Take care of the people that take care of us.”
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Stephen took to Facebook Saturday to share the “proud big brother moment,” which unfolded in a Durham location of the chicken chain.
“He didn’t even bat an eye and asked everyone in line to allow the 9 to come to the front of the line,” Stephen explained in the post, which has since been liked more than 700 times.
“As he paid for their meals, in remembrance of our late brother Joshua who suffered mentally from severe PTSD, he asked them to reach out to anyone they knew with PTSD and try their best to get them the help they needed,” he continued. “We thanked them for their service and left.”
Stephen later asked others to follow in Jonathan’s footsteps, and offer support to those affected by PTSD.
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“Do you know what a small gesture like paying for their meal and thanking a serviceman or woman does to their head and heart?” Stephen asked. “You never know what is going on inside. PTSD is not always visible.”
Joshua took his life a week prior. He had been battling severe PTSD after returning from a tour in Afghanistan.
“It was a way for me to express my gratitude for what they do and help me grieve for my brother,” Jonathan, 34, told Yahoo Lifestyle. “And [to] give back to them for what burdens they will now carry for life to help us.”
Now, the brothers hope to raise greater awareness, support and discussion of the disorder. Anyone who’s able to should “absolutely” give back to our troops, Stephen told Fox News — even if it is something simple.
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Though the military personnel initially refused the man’s offer, they changed their minds when Jonathan explained that it was important for him to do so, in Joshua’s honor.
The story has moved many — both within and beyond the Durham community.
“Not going to lie brought me to tears! So very sorry for y’all loss but thankful for people like y’all!” one Facebook commenter wrote online.
“What an amazing way to pay it forward and also in remembrance of your family member with PTSD and all others,” another agreed.
“A beautiful gesture of kindness and caring; not surprised at all but truly touched,” a third said. “Thank you for treating them and for providing the guidance to others to do the same.”
Stephen said his family will celebrate Joshua’s life at a memorial service Tuesday.
“It’s very sad and we miss him dearly. If what my brother and I can do at a Chic-Fil-A can save at least one life from all the sharing on the Internet, then we have done our job,” Stephen said.