Dr. Jen Golick, a therapist, was one of the three hostages who were killed by a gunman at The Pathway Home on the campus of the Veterans Home of California in Yountville. The Veterans Home was put on lockdown on Friday after there were reports of an active shooter in the facility. Police, SWAT, ATF, and the FBI all responded. Reports indicated that the gunman, 36, had been a resident of The Pathway Home before being asked to leave a couple weeks ago. Officials eventually found all three hostages and the gunman dead. Golick, 42, had dedicated her life to helping others, and her own life was tragically cut short in her selfless pursuit. Learn more about Dr. Golick and what happened in this tribute to her below.
1. Dr. Jen Golick Was a Therapist at The Pathway Home
Dr. Jen Golick, PhD LMFT, whose life was tragically lost at the Yountville shooting, was a therapist at The Pathway Home. She is listed on The Pathway Home’s website as the Clinical Director. According to her LinkedIn bio, she is a licensed marriage family therapist with over 16 years of practice who specializes in cognitive therapy. She dedicated her life to helping others. She was previously the clinical director of Muir Wood Adolescent and Family Services until September 2017, so it appears that she only recently moved to The Pathway Home. Prior to that, she was the Clinical Director of Duffy’s Napa Valley Rehab for two years, and then director of aftercare for Pacifica Pain Management. She began her career in 2001 as a mental health therapist at the Family Service of Napa Valley.
Just three weeks ago, Golick had posted on LinkedIn about a job opening at The Pathway Home. She wrote, “Are you interested in working with veterans? Want to be a part of a growing start-up? Want to work in close proximity to Bouchon Bakery in beautiful Yountville? I’ve got a FT, benefitted case management position available at The Pathway Home.”
Golick had an MA in counseling from Sonoma State University.
2. Golick Even Spent Her Volunteer Hours Dedicated to Helping Others
Even Golick’s volunteer activities were dedicated to helping others. She was the Board Vice President of Paws for Healing from 2003 to 2007. Paws for Healing is a canine-assisted therapy organization in Napa. She helped with fundraising and educational training.
According to her LinkedIn bio, her work focused on diverse populations, including the chronically mentally ill and children. She was also experienced in adult and adolescent substance abuse treatment and non-narcotic pain management. In fact, she was a strong advocate for educating adolescents about waiting until their brains were fulling developed before using marijuana. Golick spoke with the Daily Democrat last April and said her advice to adolescents who wanted to try marijuana was to wait, because daily hits can have a longer-term impact on their brains than on adults. “You should know what you’re getting into. You should know what will happen. Be an informed consumer — you make the choice.” She compared a developing brain to an incomplete Ferris wheel. “If you’re at a carnival and a guy is putting together a Ferris wheel, you want him to use every bolt available. You don’t want him to toss out a few. Same with your brain. You want to make sure all the bolts are in, and secure, before you start mucking with it. Just wait — so you’re not the person who’s missing a few bolts.”
3. She Called Her Husband To Tell Him She Was Taken Hostage
Around 10:30 a.m. Pacific, just after the gunman arrived, Golick called her husband, Mark, to tell him that she had been taken hostage, Oregon Live reported. She wasn’t heard from again. Authorities have said they don’t know if the victims were chosen at random, but Golick’s father-in-law has said that she was the one who recently ordered the gunman removed from the Pathway program.
Law enforcement officials had not yet officially released the names of the victims, when The Pathway Home made the heartbreaking announcement. A statement released by Larry Kamer of The Pathway Home read: “It is with extreme sadness that we acknowledge the death of three members of The Pathway Home family — Christine Loeber, our Executive Director; Dr. Jen Golick, our therapist; and Dr. Jennifer Gonzales, a psychologist with the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. These brave women were accomplished professionals who dedicated their careers to serving our nation’s veterans, working closely with those in greatest need of attention after deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. All of us at The Pathway Home are devastated by today’s events. We stand with the families, friends, and colleagues who share in this terrible loss.”
4. The Gunman Was a Veteran Treated for PTSD at The Pathway Home
Napa Valley Register reported that the man may have been dressed in black and wearing body armor and carrying an M4 type of weapon. State Senator Bill Dodd confirmed this NBC Bay Area that the suspect was a member of the Pathway Home program for military veterans with emotional trauma. Early reports say he was 36 and was discharged from the treatment program two weeks ago. However, Dodd later clarified that the gunman had been kicked out of the program.
The gunman took five hostages at first, but released two. Authorities said he was a 36-year-old veteran who was wearing a stash of bullets around his neck and waist, SFGate reported. He walked in with a rifle, but some people were able to escape before he started firing. Hostage negotiators from the Napa Sheriff’s Office and the FBI tried to contact the gunman during the standoff but were unable to reach him.
5. The Pathway Home Helps Post-9/11 Veterans from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Gulf War Deployments
The Pathway Home is a residential program working with post-9/11 veterans “affected by deployment-related stress.” Many members of the program have seen multiple combat deployments and are dealing with issues that impede their re-entry into civilian life, according to the website. According to the Pathway Program’s website: “The program is specifically focused on assisting soldiers who have returned from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), and other Gulf War theaters. The program was started in 2008 on the grounds of Yountville’s Veterans Home and is located in the Madison Hall. Since opening the program the staff of 18 has treated almost 200 non-senior veterans averaging 40 residents at any one time. It operates solely on private donations and grants.”
The San Francisco Chronicle covered The Pathway Home in-depth in November 2017. Pathway is an independent non-profit that serves Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. (It is believed the gunman was a veteran from Afghanistan.) The program is supported by donations and grants and requires a minimum stay of four months. It was originally started by a private $5.6 million grant that was made 10 years ago. Fred Gusman, a social worker, founded Pathway and it was originally open to all veterans. In 2016, the program narrowed its focus to post 9/11 veterans from California who are transitioning to higher education at nearby colleges. It has an annual budget of $1 million and does not require VA records for admission.
The Veterans Home in Yountville is one of the largest in the United States. It houses 1,100 men and women of all ages, from World War II era to present-day. The Veterans Home dates back to 1884 and is a 600-acre campus. Residents and employees are sheltering in place.