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Marine Corps Veteran Who Advocated for Benefits for his Comrades Dies

Trevor M. Lane, a Marine Corps veteran who worked to help veterans gain benefits and services to which they were entitled, ended his life Feb. 19 at his Idlewylde home. He was 41.

Mr. Lane, who had been injured while serving on Okinawa, suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome, said his mother, Lori Quigley Lane, also of Idlewylde.

"He was in Bethesda Naval Hospital for three months. He was supposed to be dead twice — he lost 40 percent of his stomach and his knees and shoulders were replaced," said William T. "Bill" Kerr, a Baltimore attorney who worked alongside Mr. Lane in the effort for help veterans.

"He was in constant pain. He was somebody who turned his pain into something that was positive in his work with vets, from which he never took a fee," said Mr. Kerr. "He was an extraordinary person. Here he was, in all that pain, and all he cared about was helping people."

"His story is so compelling and the poor guy suffered so mightily," said Leigh R. Barnes, a friend who lives in Towson. "He also was a victim of the system and was impoverished. He was a beautiful young man with a huge heart for others."

The son of Marc Lane, a security expert, and Lori Lane, a homemaker, Trevor Marc Lane was born in Rochester, N.Y., and lived with his family in Detroit and Encinitas, Calf., before settling in Idlewylde in 1979.

Robert P. Fryer, a boyhood friend who had been in Boy Scout Troop 35 with Mr. Lane, recalled a winter's day in 1989 when the two friends, along with several others, were sledding in Ruxton.

"He saved a kid from going into a stream and being injured," said Mr. Freyer of Pikesville. "He was always quick to help anyone who needed it."

Mr. Lane attended Loyola High School and graduated in 1993 from Towson High School. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the Marine Corps.

He made the decision to join the Marines after a flier arrived in the mail one day showing a Marine dressed in fatigues scaling a wall.

"When I saw this, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was going to join, and nothing was going to stop me," Mr. Lane wrote in an unpublished biographical sketch.

"This was my chance to save or change the world, this is my moment to make my mark on the world, make something of myself," he wrote. "I would never be the same after this decision, and boy, was I right, just not in the way I thought."

Mr. Lane's injuries at Okinawa were so serious that he was given last rites twice by a Roman Catholic priest. He survived and was honorably medically discharged in 1996.

He became addicted to alcohol and lived in a veterans hospital, where he was treated.

"My road to healing began there, I guess, it just didn't end there," he wrote. "We have many more years to cover together in order for people to realize you can heal a broken man or soul."

Mr. Lane held a series of jobs, working in security, landscaping, as a bartender, waiter and managing a halfway house.

"I am a medically retired veteran of the Marine Corps, and I have too many physical and mental disabilities to count. I spent years trying to get help for these and getting the benefits I earned by putting my life in danger for this country," he wrote.

"After fighting the VA for 14 years, which is how long it took to have some of my bigger disabilities approved, I learned how the system works and by accident I started helping other veterans get the benefits they fought for," wrote Mr. Lane. "I never have the time to help all those veterans who need it, and unfortunately many died while waiting for help either by their disabilities or by their own hand."

Mr. Lane wrote that his goal was to help veterans get their lives back after turning to alcohol and drugs "to bury the pain."

He wrote that veterans, while waiting for help, can experience "feelings of going crazy, being misunderstood, abandonment and anger. They have lost their families, houses, jobs, freedom and sanity."

"Trevor was well known at the VA. He knew the VA system better than anyone," said Mr. Kerr. "He was never motivated by anger, he just wanted to change it. It was a long 151/2 years for him.

"He always said, 'Vets can be healed, and best healed by vets.' You have to heal the soul and it's a tough job. Vets only trust vets, not other people," said Mr. Kerr. "I've never been around anyone in my life who cared so much about enriching people's lives. He truly was an inspiration."

In addition to his work with veterans, Mr. Lane taught suicide prevention courses for the Veterans Administration.

Mr. Kerr said he and Mr. Lane established the Building Up Veterans Healing and Opportunity Center, which will be renamed the Trevor Marc Lane Healing and Opportunity Center. The center's mission will continue to be helping veterans.

"Despite profound physical and emotional injuries, he devoted his life to helping vets," Mr. Kerr wrote in an email. "Never allowing self-pity to consume him, he became a living inspiration and source of strength to those who needed all that strength to heal themselves."

In addition to his mother, Mr. Lane is survived by his son, Marc Lane, 11, of Dyer, Ind.; a daughter, Emma Lane, 9, also of Dyer.; another daughter, Cheyenne Lane, 4, of Hanover, Pa.; two brothers, Brandon Lane of Durham, N.C., and Justin Lane of Austin, Texas; and three sisters, Kimberly Deinlein of Pikesville, Tristan Byrnes of Idlewylde and Casey Mitchell of Lutherville. Marriages to Kim Grey and Stefanie Risch ended in divorce.

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