John Preston comes from a family that values service to others, to their country, and to one another.  His father earned a purple heart as a United States Marine in Vietnam, before returning home to instill in his sons the value of working to benefit those around you – whether through military service or being an active member of the community.  His sons, Michael, Nathan, and John, decided to do both: enlisting into the Marine Corps themselves, before pursuing careers as first responders.

After his time in the Marine Corps, Michael took to law enforcement, quickly establishing himself as his department’s “go-to” guy in the eyes of many of his peers.  His passion and loyalty extended beyond his profession, and soon Michael was helping to raise a family.  Over the next twenty years, he’d have four children and Michael Lee Preston would make a name for himself as the kind of man his father would be proud of, and that his younger brother John could look up to.  In John’s eyes, and to many in his community, Michael was more than just a veteran, a father, a police officer… Michael was Superman.

For his part, John also joined the Marine Corps, serving with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines out of Twentynine Palms, and deploying to Iraq in support of the War on Terror.  Despite being a wireman by trade, John found himself running patrols and security out of Al-Asad Air Base in 2004.  According to him, he and his guys were “basically the bad news bears of all POGs playing grunt,” serving as the battalion Quick Reaction Force and leaving the wire for a hundred or more operations.

Once he was finished with his service, John went on to become a full-time firefighter, carrying the torch passed to him by his father and brother, and continuing to serve his country and community – but during his off hours, John had another passion throughout: music.  Often, that passion fell to the back burner as John, like his brother and father, devoted himself to serving his community.  Then, in January of last year, John received word of the unimaginable.

His brother, Michael, had chosen to end his own life.

“I wish his struggle was an external one so that we were able to recognize his pain. He was a cop for nearly 20 years after the Corps and was the go-to for many people in the department,” John told me. “He acted as a superman for most who knew him so his death was a shock to all of us. He was a great dad and loved more than the average father.”

For John, the loss was difficult to bear. “Twenty-two veterans commit suicide a day,” John said in a video released last month, “and my own brother became one of them.”

In order to cope with his feelings, John turned to his passion for music.  A few months after his brother’s funeral, John came home and picked up his guitar… and something came to him.  He sat down and began to write a song about Michael, and the pain his family felt in the wake of his loss – the song came together in a matter of minutes, and John immediately knew that he had something special.  He reached out to the people he knew in the music industry and set the wheels in motion for an entire album, featuring veteran voices, and to be released by Pacific Records this coming March.