Save a Warrior: Healing PTS Warriors Part I – Homefront United Network
As the month of November drew to a close, many people’s minds shifted to the holiday season – from meals to preparing gifts to buy. As the Veteran’s Day weekend came and went, I was astounded by the amount of recognition our veteran’s received. From free meals to special programs dedicated to our service members, it seemed as though this year Veteran’s Day was more prominent to our civilian counterparts than in the past years.
As we inch our way closer to a peacetime era for our troops (well, hopefully), I fear that the message of this important holiday will be lost as there will slowly be no more news of service member’s tragic deaths or triumphant homecomings. The effort our troops have made, both past and present, will once again fall to the wayside as their work will not be in the forefront of our country’s mind.
There are others who will never forget the impact this decade long war has had on them or their family. Some of them have visible wounds, but there are others whose wounds cannot be seen by the naked eye; post-traumatic stress (previously called post-traumatic stress disorder).
I was recently approached by a fellow spouse about a pledge drive for an organization that is close to her family’s heart called Save a Warrior (SaW). Prior to Becky’s inquiry about helping raise money to send other Warriors to a SaW cohort, I never knew that her husband Stephen, suffered from PTS. In reading about this organization, I was astounded by the work that this group of people is doing for the Warriors coming home with combat-related PTS.
Although the military offers an “open door policy” for anyone suffering from PTS, almost every service member will tell you there is a stigma attached to seeking help. Stephen explains that after coming back from deployment he knew something was not right. However, he “had seen other Marines seek out help only to be shunned by the very organization that offered [it].” He was at a loss as to what to do, and his wife was anxious about approaching him in seeking outside help because of the stigma attached to service members and PTS.
Then, Becky learned about SaW. A friend of her father’s is on the Board of Directors and suggested that she call the organization after hearing the effect Stephen’s struggle was having on their family. Becky was hopeful in SaW’s approach to healing Warriors in that they do not use the method of throwing medication at the “problem.” Instead they use a holistic approach to healing by teaching Warriors life skills to help deal with what they experienced. She begged for Stephen to attend a cohort and he agreed.
Stephen attended the camp for a week. When he first joined his group, he didn’t think he belonged there, he thought that he “was not the injured one and that [he] was taking up a spot.” As time progressed, Stephen realized that he needed help too. Although his time there was brief, the impact on him and his family is great. Both Becky and Stephen can see a huge change in their family dynamic and communication. Stephen states that, “There are still days when I’m irritable, however; I’m able to address those issues and live, for my children, as an example of how to react.” Becky goes on to explain that the life-coaching they have received since Stephen attended his cohort has been “like no other counseling [they] have attended before.” Stephen talks to at least one other SaW member every day. Both of them agree that they can continue to pay it forward by sharing their changed lives with others.
SaW is just one of the many amazing organizations that offers services for our veterans, but they need the public’s help to keep them going. If you would like to learn more about Save a Warrior, please click here and visit them on Facebook.
Stay tuned for my next article on Becky and Stephan’s work, and how they raised funds to send 10 Warriors to a Save the Warrior cohort. I will also share more about how you can help.