Granite Bay soldier's life cut short

Granite Bay's Trevor Hogue remembered for outsized personality
By: Nathan Donato-Weinstein |
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Trevor Hogue was a burly ex-soldier who could crochet like a grandma and wear a pink T-shirt, proudly.

When he wanted to impress his mom, he’d find out a song she liked and then surprise her by walking into a room, strumming it on his guitar.

And on Thursday nights in high school, Hogue’s place was ground zero for watching “Survivor,” with more than two-dozen kids often flopping on couches in front of his TV.

They’re just bits and pieces of a life cut short when Hogue, 24, ended it last week.

As his family and friends grapple with his death and what potentially led the Iraq war veteran to suicide, they’re left with memories of a remarkable young man whose outsized personality has left its mark on a community.

“Trevor was about looking at life through a different lens,” said Ron Severson, who was Hogue’s principal at Granite Bay High School. “That was really the gift he brought – exuberance.”

Trevor Hogue went through the Eureka school system – Oakhills and Ridgeview schools, then Cavitt Jr. High – before entering Granite Bay High.

By the time he graduated in 2003, he had formed a group of boys called the Hooligans – essentially a raucous booster club that aimed to emulate the fashion sense of “Braveheart” – that became legendary for campus stunts.

He could also act solo. As a senior, he brought a motor home on campus to celebrate a minimum day and made breakfast for all the seniors in the parking lot.

“He liked to make other people laugh. That was his personality,” said his mom, Donna Hogue.

Growing up, Hogue gravitated toward jobs that commanded authority and respect. The public-safety penchant showed itself early, said his grandmother, Marlene Currey, of Rocklin.

“One Halloween when he was almost three, we went down the street trick or treating, Trevor in a pirate suit,” she recalled. “Up comes this great big person in a gorilla costume. He said, ‘Don’t worry, Grandma, I’ll get him with my sword.’ He was always the protector.”

As a sophomore at Chico State University, Hogue acted on that lifelong drive. He left for a recruiter’s office and joined the Army at 19.

“Being at Chico just wasn’t the adult lifestyle I was looking for,” he told The Press Tribune in a 2005 interview. “It didn’t seem like anyone was bettering their life. I wanted to be in a more disciplined atmosphere.”

“That’s why he kind of gravitated to the military in as much as it calls on him to be his very best,” Donna Hogue said. “Ironically Trevor did not like guns,” she added. “He was never one of those kinds of kids who wanted to blow things up.”

In journals he kept, Hogue expressed hesitation about joining the Army, where his duties would include driving a tank.

“I miss them already and already feel a greater appreciation for their love,” he wrote of his family, which includes dad Rod Hogue and sister Tracey and cousins he was close to, the night before he left for basic training. “My biggest fear is how they will miss me when I’m gone.”

At one point, he thought of leaving. But he didn’t want to disappoint his sister, who looked up to him, he wrote.

Like so many soldiers, Hogue saw intense action in after being deployed to Iraq. In early 2007, he survived a grisly explosion that killed many in his platoon, including his sergeant.

That and other incidents left their mark, Donna Hogue said, after he returned home in February.

Seeing a single helicopter in the Sacramento skies alarmed him, because in Iraq, choppers never fly solo, his mom said. Slowly, that was going away, but loud noises were still upsetting.

“The adrenaline rush would be so strong he would feel so sick to his stomach,” she said. “It throws you back into that time of danger.”

Despite battling depression, Hogue was making plans for the future. In January he graduated from the California Regional Fire Academy and was going to finish his certification; he took classes while working at the family pool business and living with his mom, logging 16-hour days.

That’s partly why Hogue’s suicide was such a surprise – he appeared to be going on as normal, his mom said, even going grocery shopping two days before he died, when he hanged himself from a tree in the backyard.

Though Trevor sought some help for his condition, he never really connected with his treatment.

Now, his mom says the government should take a more proactive role in addressing soldiers’ mental health.

“I wish there was something almost like an AA program, where there was somebody with the same experience sets that you can relate to,” she said, “so they can tell you they understand, and they truly do.”