Helping Veterans Cope with PTSD during holidays

LinkedIn
army-man-sitting

The winter holiday season is regarded by many as a wonderful time of the year. However, the holidays can be a painful reminder of past times when life seemed better. Large groups of family and friends are often part of the holiday festivities, but this and other things may be stressful for someone with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Groups may tire a person out or make him or her feel overwhelmed. People may feel pressure to join family activities when they’re not up for it, or believe they must act happy when they’re not. People with PTSD may already find it difficult to get enough sleep or to relax and these added pressures can worsen those symptoms.

Someone with PTSD may be very sensitive to losses around the holiday.  Veterans and military families, in particular, tend to remember at the holidays those who did not make it home from war.  They may not know how to celebrate the holidays knowing those fallen heroes are no longer present.  There may also be recent losses: the death of a loved one, an emotional divorce, or separation from one’s children.  All of these circumstances may cause someone to feel melancholy about memories of holidays past.

Family and friends might ask the Veteran questions about his or her life or about PTSD. The person with PTSD may not feel comfortable answering these questions, but it is important that he or she keep in mind that their family may feel some of the same pressures, and may only be asking because they have a genuine concern for their wellbeing.

The holiday gathering may also be one of the few times family or friends are able to physically see the person with PTSD, and they may feel it is more appropriate they ask such questions in person rather than over the phone or online because they may think that is too impersonal. In either case, the person with PTSD has the power and right to not answer any questions.

Responding to sensitive questions

A polite way of handling these types of situations is by taking a few slow, deep breaths and calmly responding to someone, “I think it is nice of you to show you care by asking, but I’d rather not talk about that right now,” or “thanks for your concern, but I’m not comfortable answering questions about that.”  Then take the opportunity to redirect the conversation.  Ask that family member about work, their children, or their favorite sports team, and steer the conversation to safer ground.

Both people with and without PTSD can cope with holiday stress by following these tips:

  • Talk with your family about how you feel. Your family can help you. This does not mean you have to tell them everything, but let them know you’re feeling stressed.
  • Be honest about your stress level and let your friends and family know your plans ahead of time, especially if you are planning to take some time during the season to relax and de-stress by spending time away from home, work or people that bring stress into your life.
  • Set limits. Don’t join activities for longer than you can handle. You can choose when you want to be a part of the group.
  • Take breaks. Go for walks, or set aside a place where you can be alone for a while. This can keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
  • Get plenty of rest. You may already have difficulty sleeping, but do your best to maintain your usual bedtime or wake-up. Naps should be taken sparingly, as they may further disrupt your nighttime sleeping patterns.
  • Keep up with exercise routines. If you normally do yoga, go jogging, or lift weights, try to keep up those healthy routines.  These activities are all healthy ways to relieve stress.
  • Fake it ‘til you make it. Sometimes people who are feeling depressed find that if they go through the motions, they just might catch themselves having fun.  While the pain from the past hasn’t gone away, this is a chance to begin making new positive memories one step at a time.

One of the best tips to remember when coping with holiday stress is not drinking too much alcohol. Many people have a few drinks, thinking it will relax them, but instead, alcohol causes many people to have less control over their emotions and behavior.  As a result, your symptoms may be worse or you may end up having problems with your family. For those who are in recovery from alcohol, the suggestion from family or friends to “have just one” can be a big challenge. Carrying a glass of ginger ale or cola with you can help sidestep those offers without you having to share your personal matters with everyone.

Continue on to the VA to read the complete article.

Don’t miss SGT. Will Gardner, the movie, coming to select theaters and On Demand, January 11!

LinkedIn

SGT. Will Gardner tells the story of Iraq War veteran Will Gardner (Max Martini) who is suffering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) he sustained with his platoon while in combat.

His injuries make it difficult for him to reintegrate into society. After a series of setbacks, he embarks on a spirited motorcycle journey across America with the goal of reuniting with his son.

Along his journey, he tries to pick up the pieces of the life he’s lost since returning from combat. His PTSD causes frequent flashbacks to the Iraq War which he survives by having frequent conversations with Sam (Omari Hardwick), his best friend and war buddy.

SGT. WILL GARDNER will be released in select theaters, VOD, and Digital on January 11, 2019 from Cinedigm.

 
 

Director: Max Martini
Writer: Max Martini
Stars: Max Martini, Omari Hardwick, Gary Sinise. See complete cast list

WATCH THE TRAILER!

Facebook: @sgtwillgardnerthemovie
Twitter: @SgtWillGardner

America’s Warrior Partnership Expands Veteran Suicide Prevention Study to Seven New Communities

LinkedIn

— Operation Deep Dive to be conducted in Cincinnati; Syracuse, N.Y.; Mobile, Ala.; Houston; Charlotte, N.C.; Indianapolis; and Las Vegas —

America’s Warrior Partnership today announced the addition of seven nonprofit organizations and city government groups that will participate in Operation Deep Dive, a community-based veteran suicide prevention study led by America’s Warrior Partnership and University of Alabama researchers with support from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.

The seven new study participants are the Tristate Veterans Community Alliance (based in Cincinnati); Clear Path for Veterans (based in Syracuse, N.Y.); Veteran Recovery Resources (based in Mobile, Ala.); Combined Arms (based in Houston); Veterans Bridge Home (based in Charlotte, N.C.); the city government of Indianapolis; and the city government of Las Vegas.

“Since launching Operation Deep Dive a year ago, we have received a tremendous response from within the original communities where the study is currently being conducted,” said Jim Lorraine, president and CEO of America’s Warrior Partnership. “Suicide prevention is a critical public health issue, so we greatly appreciate the support of our partners in expanding the scope of this project. We welcome the expertise of these seven new community groups, and we look forward to working together in guiding the development of more effective outreach and prevention programs nationwide.”

Each of the participating organizations will lead the creation of a Community Action Team, which will consist of local medical examiners, coroners, veteran-serving organizations, civic leaders, veterans and their families and caregivers. These Community Action Teams will work with University of Alabama researchers to shape, review and direct the project within their region.

“This project’s unique approach of building local teams to work with national researchers promises to provide new insights into the community factors that affect veterans and their families,” said John Damonti, President of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. “Expanding Operation Deep Dive to these seven new communities will ensure the project’s results are as comprehensive as possible.”

Operation Deep Dive is the first research endeavor to assess the effects that community environments have on the potential factors of suicides among veterans. Conducted in two phases, the first phase included a five-year retrospective investigation of the impact of less-than-honorable discharges on veterans, as well as the differences in suicide rates between those who received and did not receive support services from the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA).

During the second phase of the study, researchers will analyze information gathered by the Community Action Teams along with data from national sources, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs and United Way Worldwide to identify trends, patterns and potential indicators of suicide. Results will ultimately guide the development of proactive, holistic prevention and outreach programs to reduce suicide and self-harm among veterans.

In addition to these seven new communities, Operation Deep Dive is currently being conducted in Atlanta; Orange County, Calif.; Buffalo, N.Y; Minneapolis, Minn.; the Panhandle region of Florida; and Greenville and Charleston, S.C.

For more information on Operation Deep Dive, visit AmericasWarriorPartnership.org/Deep-Dive.

About America’s Warrior Partnership

America’s Warrior Partnership is committed to empowering communities to empower veterans. We fill the gaps that exist between current veteran service organizations by helping nonprofits connect with the veterans, military members and families in need: bolstering their efficacy, improving their results and empowering their initiatives. America’s Warrior Partnership is a force multiplier for warrior community integration that enhances communities where great Americans choose to live and contribute. For more information on the organization and how to get involved, visit AmericasWarriorPartnership.org.

 

About Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is committed to improving the health outcomes of populations disproportionately affected by serious diseases by strengthening healthcare worker capacity, integrating medical care and community-based supportive services, and addressing unmet medical need. The Foundation engages partners to develop, execute, evaluate and promote innovative programs to help patients with lung cancer and removing barriers to accessing care in the United States, HIV and comorbid diseases such as cervical and breast cancers and tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa, hepatitis B and C in China and India and veterans’ mental health and well-being in the U.S. For more information about Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, visit us at BMS.com/Foundation.

Hampton Rose: The unbroken lens of a filmmaker

LinkedIn
Hampton Rose with his camer

Hampton Rose is a father of 7 who battles PTSD and was in two missions. He dreams of being a filmmaker to help other vets.

It’s 4 a.m. and instead of getting those precious hours of sleep – he’s doing homework. This moment of quiet gives him an opportunity to steal a few moments and get through his class assignments while the children sleep.

“Oh, yeah! I have seven kids and insomnia,” says the 46-year-old Hampton Rose who is about to graduate as he reflects on the constant juggle of a full course load in psychology, raising kids and completing homework before sunrise.

He’s straight to the point on his sleep disorder and the likely cause – a personal struggle with PTSD.

“I think more people should talk about it,” says Rose.

Rose is a military vet who served for 17 years and held several assignments including communications specialist. But, he switched jobs during his tenure and served as an Army medic, providing care in the toughest zones within Afghanistan and Iraq.

“I was called Doc, it was a sign of respect,” says Hampton about the nickname he earned within his unit. “I was a Charlie company senior medic. And as a medic you’re supposed to take care of the troops’ medical support, but what they don’t tell you is that you’re like their everything. Their doctor, their therapist, priest, big brother, and sometimes best friend, which is why I believe as medics, we suffer more because when a troop goes down, it’s not only a patient. Now, you’re looking at it with all eyes. And that’s the worst part, who wants to see all that in one person?”

In 2007, his career is nearly ended after a tumor was found inside his hip. For three months he spent time confined to a hospital and unable to walk.  “I couldn’t deploy and it was tough not being there for my fellow troops,” he said about his recovery period.

After Rose was cleared of the tumor, he rejoined his teammates and later deployed as part of a rapidHampton Rose response unit. However, in 2012, after serving for nearly two decades, his teenaged daughter Alexa asked him to stay and not leave home anymore – something that hit him harder than the tumor.

He decided to end his military career and one year later enrolled at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). He selected to study psychology, because he desired to discover more about himself as he endures PTSD.

“The classroom and learning has been therapy,” he says. “And I wanted to know the ‘why’ of why I have twitches. I wanted to know my triggers.”

Rose suffers from severe social anxiety disorder too. Sometimes he gets gripped by fear to the point he cannot take a step.  A five-minute walking trajectory to the campus library can sometimes end up taking him 20 minutes.

“I even suffered panic attacks in class, it was horrible,” Rose said. “You think everyone is watching you. It’s beyond paranoia. But you have to remind yourself that you have to be patient, breathe and take your time, take your time.”

But there is a significant change for Rose, last year during a video class project, he was asked to produce a short film on any topic. Naturally, his work centered on the alienation he feels as a veteran and the difficulties he faces to reintegrate back to civilian life including attending school. The one assignment has resulted in three short films.

After graduation he plans to make it a go and launch a production company called “Nushottas,” borrowing from the street slang “shotta” for gangster, but also a nod to the transformation of the camera as his new weapon.

“Maybe I can help vets express themselves artistically and help others see the world the way I see it. I’m not broken, I just see it a little differently.”

After five years, Rose will now walk the commencement stage in December with dreams of meeting Spike Lee.

Author
Milady Nazir
The University of Texas San Antonio

Blind veteran pushing new documentary, anthem to bring attention to disabled vets

LinkedIn
Marty Klein on guitar

WOODSTOCK, N.Y.–A blind veteran from Woodstock has ambitious plans for his new full-length feature film and original theme song that grew out of it.

During the month of November, Marty Klein  was on a mission to get radio stations across the nation to play his “Veterans’ Anthem” and present his 54-minute documentary, “Why Can’t We Serve,” which he wrote, produced and directed, to a wide audience. He intends to keep the momentum going and shine the spotlight on helping disabled veterans.

The song, recorded at Natural Studios in Saugerties, features Klein on lead vocals. He is backed by famous musicians like John Sebastian on harmonica; folk singer Amy Fradon on backup vocals; Eric Parker on percussion; Jim Barbaro on guitar; and Cathie Malach on keyboard. Klein said the folksy anthem is intentionally upbeat to instill hope among America’s veterans.

Klein, who lost his sight to a rare eye disease called bilateral anterior uveitis while serving in the U.S. Air Force in the late 1960s, said the anthem was inspired by his film “Why Can’t We Serve,” which draws attention to high veteran suicide rates. According to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 22 veterans take their lives each day, amounting to about 8,000 deaths annually.

Klein said he could have been another statistic, particularly after his diagnosis, which included secondary glaucoma and minimal but progressive cataracts.

“Before that, I had 20-20 vision,” said the 70-year-old author, disability activist and yoga enthusiast, Marty in uniform shaking handswho was honorably discharged in 1970. “I had no idea that it would be the beginning of a total loss of vision.”

To make the film, Klein enlisted the talents of Hudson Valley photographer and videographer Mike Nelson as his cinematographer as well as other local experts and artists. He began working on the project in 2016 and raised funds to get it off the ground. The Kingston Veterans Association helped raise more than $8,000 for the project, according to Klein.

The movie, shot at various locations across the country, including California, North Carolina and New York, features interviews with veterans, policymakers and counselors. Among those interviewed are Bill Forte, the chairman of the Kingston Veterans Association, and Klein, who tells his story.

In 1967, at the age of 18, he enlisted in the Air Force, mainly to appease his patriotic father. After basic training, he went to weather school in Champagne, Illinois, fulfilling a childhood dream of being a meteorologist.

He was about to be sent to Vietnam when he was stricken with the disease.

“I had my own Vietnam,” he said. “Losing my vision was no picnic. I went through seven years of hell, being totally lost and had to recreate who I was.”

In the years that followed, Klein moved around the country before landing in Woodstock, where he would become a longtime counselor at Family of Woodstock’s crisis intervention center. He has also authored three books, two screenplays and created a CD program called “Beginning Yoga for the Blind and Visually Impaired.” He also is the founder of a holistic learning center in Tallahassee, Florida, which operated for eight years.

Marty Klein anthem songKlein said his goals for the film and song are not for personal gain, but to improve the lives of wounded military personnel and disabled veterans.

“My premise was that when these soldiers go to combat and come back wounded, there is no place for them in the military, so I decided to expose this with this film,” he said. “They get discharged and are given a disability check and that’s that.

“Many want to keep serving, but now, they’re floundering and don’t know what to do. The military unintentionally is pushing away a large number of people who would make it stronger and more diverse.”

Klein hopes that in some small way, the film will be a catalyst for change, but he said it will likely be an uphill battle.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that all businesses and corporations hire people with disabilities,” he said. “This applies to most government agencies as well. The only exception is the United States military.”

Right now, Klein is pushing to get his song played at as many radio stations as he can and hoping to get his documentary screened at prominent venues, including next year’s GI Film Festival.

For the link to the film, please go to whycantweserve.com.

To listen to the song, A Veteran’s Anthem, download it here.

A new mission: retired Army veteran finds new way to serve her own

LinkedIn
Army veteran Becky Smith assisting veteran at the DAV

It seems the only thing retired about Army veteran Becky Smith is the word “retired.”

After a distinguished 20-year career in the Army, which included service as the Women in the Army Policy Officer at the Pentagon, Smith, and her husband, who is also a retired soldier, settled in the Clarksville, TN area. And while her email moniker might read, “retired2RV,” the reality is that the course of her days appear anything but. In fact, Smith is so busy assisting veterans through the charity DAV (Disabled American Veterans), that she and her husband sold their RV to a friend so it could actually be enjoyed for travel.

Smith, who was working in the Pentagon during the 9/11 attacks, now represents her fellow DAV members in her multi-state region. On a recent Friday afternoon in September, Smith assisted veterans at the DAV’s Mobile Service Office (MSO) stop in her newly adopted hometown. The assistance, which ensures justice for her fellow veterans, ensures they receive their benefits.

“The feeling of helping a fellow veteran is incredible,” said Smith, who recently assisted a homeless veteran through the claims process. “We were able to help him go from being homeless living on $100 a month to receiving close to $3,000 a month. These are benefits he earned and should receive. I was happy to help him.”

Smith has been a lifetime member of the DAV for 11 years.

DAV and Hankook Tire are hosting a series of MSO stops across the nation to assist veterans and educate them and their families on the benefits and services earned in service. This program extends DAV’s benefits assistance to veterans who might not be able to access it otherwise due to distance, transportation, health or other various reasons. Hankook continues its promise to help American veterans through mobility by doubling the number of Hankook-sponsored DAV MSO stops year-over-year with 12 MSO stops across the nation this year.

To learn more about Hankook Tire’s relationship with DAV, visit dav.org/hankook.

About Hankook Tire America Corp.

Hankook Tire America Corp. is a growing leader in the U.S. tire market, leveraging investments in technology, manufacturing and marketing to deliver high-quality, reliable products that are safer for consumers and the environment. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Hankook America markets and distributes a complete line of high-performance and ultra-high-performance passenger tires, light truck and SUV tires as well as medium truck and bus tires in the United States. Hankook Tire America is a subsidiary of Hankook Tire Co., Ltd., a Forbes Global 2000 company headquartered in Seoul, Korea, and led by President and CEO Hyun Bum Cho.

About DAV

DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; providing employment resources to veterans and their families and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with more than 1 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at dav.org.

Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation Supports Paralyzed Veterans of America on Veteran’s Day

LinkedIn
Brad Keselowski presents check to Bill Lawson

WASHINGTON (Nov. 13, 2018) — Earlier this year, NASCAR driver and 2018 Richtopia Top 100 Philanthropist, Brad Keselowski, announced his Checkered Flag Foundation would support Paralyzed Veterans of America’s employment program, PAVE (Paving Access for Veterans Employment).

Team Penske partners’ Alliance Truck Parts, Snap-On and Würth have also joined these efforts, and on Friday, Keselowski presented a check for $25,000 to Bill Lawson, former president of Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Started in 2007, the PAVE program provides career assistance and vocational support to transitioning service members, veterans, military spouses, and caregivers across the country. Through the PAVE program, clients receive high-touch engagement as they look for meaningful employment. PAVE staff work with members of the veteran community to provide one-on-one support with resume development, sharpen interviewing and networking skills, and build a strong LinkedIn profile. PAVE operates through eight locations nationwide and in 2018, PAVE staff has placed 319 individuals with meaningful employment opportunities.

“Supporting America’s heroes is something that is very important to me, so I’m glad the Checkered Flag Foundation and Paralyzed Veterans of America partnered earlier this year,” said Keselowski. “I’m incredibly thankful that some of my Team Penske partners joined myself and the foundation in our efforts to support this program. This donation will allow Paralyzed Veterans of America the opportunity to continue to serve veterans by providing them, their families and caretakers with career support via the PAVE program. It’s very fitting that we were able to do this on such a special weekend, where we honor and remember all of the veterans who have served.”

Paralyzed Veterans of America not only supports disabled veterans, but all veterans. The organization advocates for quality health care and governmental benefits on behalf of veterans who have rightfully earned them. In addition, the organization is also a champion in fighting for job opportunities for veterans.

“We must be diligent in our efforts to combat unemployment and underemployment of veterans. This summer the veteran unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, an increase from a year ago. But, most concerning, is that nearly one-third of veteran job seekers are underemployed at a rate 15.6 percent higher than non-veteran job seekers,” said David Zurfluh, national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “When organizations such as Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation support our veterans’ employment program, together we are able to improve the lives of veterans, making them unstoppable in their quest for meaningful employment.”

For additional information about Paralyzed Veterans of America’s PAVE program, or to make a donation, visit pva.org.

###
 

About Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation

Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation honors and assists those who have sacrificed greatly for our country. Since 2010, the foundation has supported more than 250 organizations and individuals in order to help veterans and first responders during their road to recovery. There are numerous ways for those interested to become involved. Visit CheckeredFlagFoundation.org for details.

About Paralyzed Veterans of America

Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For more than 70 years, the organization has ensured that veterans receive the benefits earned through service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.

As a life-long partner and advocate for veterans and all people with disabilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, and provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation. With more than 70 offices and 33 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans of America serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Learn more at pva.org.

The John And Daria Barry Foundation Donates $2.5 Million To The Prostate Cancer Foundation To Establish A New Precision Oncology Center Of Excellence To Serve U.S. Veterans In New York

LinkedIn
Barry Foundation ceremony

The VALOR Ceremony honored hundreds of thousands of courageous U.S. veterans battling prostate cancer during National Veterans and Military Families Month in November.

Helping to advance revolutionary research in prostate cancer and delivery of precision treatments to U.S. Veterans, the John and Daria Barry Foundation has generously donated $2.5 million to the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) to establish the John and Daria Barry Precision Oncology Center of Excellence at the Manhattan VA. John and Daria Barry acceped a special award on behalf of the Barry Foundation for their groundbreaking philanthropy.

The John and Daria Barry Precision Oncology Center of Excellence will serve as a precision oncology hub in the PCF’s preeminent network of centers working to fulfill the ambitious mission of improving the care of U.S. Veterans with prostate cancer in the New York metropolitan area and beyond. The PCF has committed to funding a series of precision medicine teams at leading VA medical centers and universities across the country.

The Barry family accepting award
The Barry family accepting award at the ceremony.

The John and Daria Barry Foundation’s gift will serve the nation’s heroes by delivering first-in-class prostate cancer care to U.S. veterans and will pave the way for transformational research that will have a far lasting impact on generations to come. One out of every nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among Veterans, accounting for a third of all male cancer cases.  African-American men, who represent the largest population group within the VA are 73% more likely to develop prostate cancer and are 2.3 times more likely to die from the disease than any other ethnicity. To date, little is known about the biological reasons for the alarming disparities. For more information, visit PCF.org.

Paws of War Receives Donation, Aims to Help More Veterans with New Location

LinkedIn
Paws of War

Paws of War, an organization that helps veterans and first responders to obtain and train companion and service dogs, is moving to a new, larger location. The new location will help them provide their important services to more veterans and first responders.

One local construction company, NDA Construction, lead a community effort that made all the difference. The new Paws of War location will be at 127-6 Smithtown Blvd in Nesconset, New York. They are in the same shopping center, but will now be in a new location within it. The public is invited to attend a grand opening event on Friday, October 19, 2018 at 11:00 am. Refreshments and a light lunch will be served.

“We have long outgrown our space and it was preventing us from helping more people,” explains Robert Misseri, co-founder of Paws of War. “We are so grateful that NDA Construction and the community of sub contractors they brought on have stepped up to make it possible for us have a larger and more functional space. Their donation of time and resources has made it possible for us to help many more veterans and first responders. We couldn’t have made this move without their kind donation.”

The new space will be 3,400 square feet, which is double the size of the old location. It has been Paws of War Constructionbuilt out to provide more areas that will be used to help veterans during their training sessions. The group will now also be able to help those veterans and first responders who are wheelchair-bound or who use scooters. Their prior space was not sufficient for those in wheelchairs to properly participate in the training programs.

NDA Construction and its sister company NDA Kitchens have veterans working for them. The company is owned by Ed Rowland, who started it in 1992. Since that time, they have built a solid reputation for building and design. Through NDA Kitchens, they offer custom kitchen remodeling in the Long Island area.

“It would have been a real financial strain for Paws of War to try to move to a larger facility without receiving some assistance from a builder,” explained Rowland. “We believe in what they are doing and wanted to step up and help make it easier for them to continue doing it on a larger scale. We’re helping them, but then in turn they are helping people who have given a lot for all of us.”

Since the organization started in 2014, they have supported over 100 veterans with service dogs that were rescued from kill shelters and given the proper training. They have rescued 455 dogs from kill shelters and have graduated 102 dogs from the training program. Their mission is to help veterans and first responders who are in need of service dogs, whether for emotional issues, PTSD, depression, or for physical conditions. The new location will make it easier for them to help even more be able to get the assistance they need.

Paws of War Construction“I started in the program over a year ago,” says William Wurm, who is retired from the US Army and served in Iraq. “And now we are busting at the seams. This new space is going to be so ideal for all of us who make Paws of War a second home.”

Paws of War is an all-volunteer organization that provides assistance to military members and their pets and provides service and service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD. To learn more about Paws of War or make a donation to support their efforts, visit their site at: pawsofwar.org.

About Paws of War

Paws of War is a 501c3 organization devoted to helping both animals and veterans. The Paws of War goal is to train and place shelter dogs to serve and provide independence to our United States military veterans that suffer from the emotional effects of war such as PTSD. In turn each veteran can experience the therapeutic and unconditional love only a companion animal can bring. To learn more about Paws of War, visit the site at pawsofwar.org.

# # #

 

Taya Kyle, Widow of Late U.S. Navy SEAL and “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, Announced as Keynote Speaker for Upcoming Brave B.A.S.H.

LinkedIn
Taya Kyle Keynote Speaker

TAMPA–ART International recently announced that Taya Kyle, widow of late United States Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, commonly known as the “American Sniper” after the title of his New York Times bestselling memoir of the same title, will be the keynote speaker at the organization’s upcoming Brave B.A.S.H. (Building Advocates for Successful Healing) gala.

The organization also announced an all-star musical lineup featuring country artists LOCASH, Billy Dean, Tim Rushlow, Monty Powell, along with jazz artist Anna Wilson. Sawyer Fredericks, winner of “The Voice,” will perform a private concert at an after-party in Ybor City. The Golf Channel’s Lauren Thompson will be emceeing the main event.

The Tampa event, scheduled for Friday, October 19th at The Gathering at Armature Works, is a fundraiser to support the work of ART International, a nonprofit formed by restauranteur and entrepreneur Chris T. Sullivan, with a mission of expanding the reach of Accelerated Resolution Therapy, or ART, and making it more widely accessible to individuals suffering from mental health issues.

Ms. Kyle published a New York Times bestselling memoir, American Wife, after her husband’s book was made into an Academy Award-winning film directed by Clint Eastwood starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller. With humor and vulnerability, Kyle recounts the tremendous highs and lows in her unpredictable life as the wife and now widow of an American hero. She continues to be a contributor on television networks, is a passionate author with new books coming out later this year and next year, and is a public speaker inspiring others to find light in the midst of darkness.

Following the murder of her husband, Chris Kyle, Ms. Kyle founded the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation (CKFF) where she volunteers her time as executive director. The foundation continues Chris Kyle’s legacy of honoring God, country and family. With a team of people behind the mission and donations coming in from across the globe, CKFF is helping first responder and military families not only survive their life of service, but thrive.

ART is an evidenced-based psychotherapy that has demonstrated proven results in treating individuals with post-traumatic stress (PTSD). This treatment provides effective relief from strong physical and emotional reactions associated with PTSD in as few as one to five sessions, with the average being four sessions.

“What motivated me to get involved in connecting more patients and therapists to ART are the staggering number of military, active and retired, deeply and perhaps permanently damaged by PTSD; and the published data that speaks to the effectiveness of ART,” said Chris T. Sullivan, chairman of ART International. “One in five veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is diagnosed with PTSD. Brave B.A.S.H. will look to inspire attendees to support our mission of helping those who have protected us. I’m thrilled that Taya Kyle, along with our musical acts, have joined in to be a part of this special evening.”

ART International is excited to create a memorable experience for their guests at the inaugural Brave B.A.S.H. A VIP reception for sponsors and patrons begins at 6:00 p.m. The gala and music jam, which will be emceed by Lauren Thompson, begins at 7:00 p.m. Guests will experience an electric musical evening featuring performances by award-winning artists LOCASH, Billy Dean, Tim Rushlow, Monty Powell and Anna Wilson during this one-of-a-kind music jam. The after-party, set for 11:00 p.m. at The Attic – Rock Brothers Brewing in Ybor City, will include a private concert by Sawyer Fredericks, winner of “The Voice”.

To purchase a sponsorship or tickets to Brave B.A.S.H or for more information on ART International, please visit artherapyinternational.org or call (813) 435-1374.

###

About ART International Training and Research

ART International Training and Research Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was created and is supported by the Chris T. Sullivan Foundation and private funding sources. ART International offers training in Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) to licensed mental health clinicians to increase access of treatment worldwide; provides financial support of the most current, effective and innovative clinical research related to ART; and develops financial assistance opportunities for those in need of the therapy.

ART has been successful in treating individuals with post-traumatic stress (PTSD) by reprograming distressing memories and negative images that are stored in the brain so that they no longer trigger strong physical and emotional reactions — and establish a positive change for adverse psychological conditions. For more information, visit artherapyinternational.org.

DAV and Hankook Tire support veterans with Mobile Service Office

LinkedIn
DAV-Hancock Tire

The DAV (Disabled American Veterans) and Hankook Tire recently hosted a Mobile Service Office stop at Gateway Tire & Service Center in Clarksville, TN to assist veterans and educate them and their families on the benefits and services earned in service.

This program extends DAV’s benefits assistance to veterans who might not be able to access it otherwise due to distance, transportation, health or other various reasons. Hankook continues its promise to help American veterans through mobility by doubling the number of Hankook-sponsored DAV MSO stops year-over-year with 12 MSO stops across the nation this year.

Photo : Brian Cowart, Chief Development Officer of the DAV with Larry Cantu, who served 20 years in the Army and is the Sr. Vice Commander of the local DAV chapter #45, and Jay Kim, Vice President of Corporate Strategy of Hankook Tire.

About DAV 

DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; providing employment resources to veterans and their families and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with more than 1 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at dav.org.