James Woods never served in the military, but he cares about American veterans more than most. After a veteran admitted on Twitter that he was going to commit suicide, Woods dedicated himself to reaching the man and keeping him alive.
“I’m on Twitter all day. I retweet all the time but this is the first tweet I’ve ever written,” the veteran wrote. “I’m a good guy, I’m a veteran, I love America. I’m gonna kill myself tonight. I’ve lost everything I have nobody, nobody cares. I’m in a parking lot with my dog and everything I own. Bye.”
Woods reached out an hour and 15 minutes later.
“Tell me where you are,” he wrote.
Woods eventually learned that the man was Andrew McMasters, a former Marine living in Orlando, Florida.
Shortly after Woods reached out, McMasters deleted his tweet, and his Twitter account.
That didn’t stop Woods from trying to help.
Woods reached out to multiple police departments to try to locate McMasters.
McMasters and Woods never spoke directly, but Woods opened his heart to the former Marine, and to many others, sharing his own struggles with depression, and rallying supporters around the country. More likely, around the world.
Several more vets sounded off, praising Woods for taking action.
Before the night was over, it appeared as though McMasters was home safe, without incident.
“Our agency was able to make contact with him by phone earlier this morning, where he advised he was OK but did not wish to have contact with law enforcement,” Maitland Police Public Information Officer Lt. Louis Y. Grindle told USA TODAY. “Our officers are still working to try and physically locate him to determine his well-being.”
Woods isn’t shy about his conservative views on Twitter, nor does he hold back support for veterans.
“So long as a single veteran is homeless, I’m only interested in spending tax $$ on the needs of American citizens,” he tweeted in September 2017. “After that, we’ll see…”
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.