With all the disruption our country has seen in the wake of the COVID crisis, there’s one group that has received less attention than others, and that is our veterans of war and first responders. We touched on this in our article: How COVID-19 has Impacted Veterans of War & How You Can Help including their increased risk of suicide amidst devastating world events.
And while talking about donating to the foundation is important, we thought, what better way to explain the “why” of what we do than to introduce you to the veterans themselves. Below you’ll meet our heroes (and graduates of our program) whose lives have been changed by Camp Hope.
These amazing humans, who have given us more than we can ever know, explain why the PTSD Foundation was key to their recovery, and how they are ready to move on to the next stage of their lives because of the support our donors provide. Without further ado, meet just a few of our incredible Camp Hope graduates whose bravery in sharing their story drives us every day.
Meet Erick, U.S. Army
Having served in the U.S. Army from 2007-2011, Erick was stationed in Iraq for 14 months and came home facing a PTSD diagnosis based on his experiences there. He heard about the PTSD Foundation’s resident facility, Camp Hope through a friend and has since graduated from the program.
“For me the biggest thing [I learned] was emotional regulation, being able to identify emotion and actually feel my emotions again,” he said.
Emotional regulation as well as managing anxiety through proven methods are just two of the ways that Camp Hope help our residents get on the road to recovery.
Meet Frantz, U.S. Marine Corps
Frantz, a Marine who served in Afghanistan in 2011 and returned home in 2013 felt that although PTSD was affecting him, he didn’t have the resources to identify how to fix the symptoms of the problem.
“It was a problem for me to adapt back to society, so I got into some trouble and my whole life went to shambles,” he said. “And then, I found this.”
He credits “his brothers”, the connections he has made at Camp Hope, as one thing he will take away from the program, knowing they will be there for him for life.
Meet Ken, U.S. Army
Ken’s longtime history in the U.S. Army reached across several conflicts including Desert Storm, Bosnia and most recently, Iraq. After retiring from an admirable 20-year military career, Ken described his life as “going downhill fast” upon return to civilian life.
He found himself isolating and knew he needed to get help. Camp Hope was there.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is how to forgive and accept what I’ve been through, and that’s how I move forward,” he said.
Meet John, U.S. Army
The PTSD Foundation serves combat veterans and their families (at no cost) of all branches of the military, and all eras. John is a Vietnam veteran who served in 1968 and 1969.
“It took me 52 years to find this place, but thank God I did,” he said of Camp Hope.
John was dealing with anger, nightmares, a lack of sleep and more symptoms that went untreated for decades. He arrived as one of the few Vietnam veterans with concerns of how he would fit in with the other residents.
“I was a little nervous about coming. I didn’t think I’d fit in. I thought they [the other veterans] would just think I was some old guy who didn’t understand their war because my war was entirely different,” he said. “And I was so wrong, because they were so respectful to me. I have comradery that I haven’t had in 57 years.”
After eight months in our program, John urges his fellow Vietnam veterans to get help, saying that it’s possible to find meaning in life again, and showing that it is never too late to heal.
Meet James, U.S. Air Force
James was deployed in Afghanistan from 2006-2009 in the U.S. Air Force. Although he showed signs of PTSD while in the service, his difficulties worsened when he got out. He was isolating from loved ones and struggling with depression, causing many more issues in his life.
“I’ve realized that you have to let go of the past traumas and forgive,” he said.
Finding the program by “luck” from the recommendation of a friend, after nine months at Camp Hope, James is ready to move forward.
These are just a few of the many brave, wonderful and deserving individuals who we serve at the PTSD Foundation and our facility in Houston, Texas – Camp Hope. Every 65 seconds, we lose a combat veteran to PTSD-related suicide. We are changing that, one life at a time. You can be part of our mission to give back to these veterans, too. You can help bring combat Veterans to Camp Hope by donating toward the cost of the airline tickets.
Simply click here to make a donation, or better yet, become one of our monthly supporters. You can even choose to help veterans right in your community by designating a chapter or you can help bring a combat Veteran to Camp Hope by donating toward the cost of the airline tickets. If you are interested in dropping off in-kind donations to our facility at Camp Hope, check our our Urgent Needs List.
Finally, we are always looking for corporate sponsors and partners as well. Get connected here and we will get in touch right away.