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Veterans support group to meet

WINTERSVILLE — Approximately 20 veterans and guardsmen commit suicide every day in the United States. Countless others are living a life of bondage and misery due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

These and more personal statistics are what prompted a group of local combat veterans, spouses, and pastors to form the Veterans Experiencing Trauma Support Group. The group will begin meeting weekly, with the first meeting scheduled to be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday in the Crossroads Educational Center at 120 Springdale Ave.

There will be food and fellowship to start each meeting followed by a time to walk through a portion of the program which was designed by Cru Military. The faith-based trauma healing care group is confidential, judgment-free and open to veterans who are experiencing trauma as a result of their service in the US Armed Forces and is designed to address the spiritual and moral wounds of military service.

“When I came back from my fourth tour in Iraq, I was in a very dark place. I tried about everything, good and bad but just kept getting worse and felt hopeless,” said Derek Wade, who did three tours with the 4th Infantry Division and other with the 1st Infantry Division.

He retired out of Fort Riley, Kan., from the 101st BSB as an E5 sergeant.

“Those programs just treated part of the problem but a program like this treats the whole person and has made a big transformation in me. Healing is a life-long process — there’s no getting back to normal, so to speak, after the things I’ve seen, but there is a new normal that can be even better and more rewarding.” Wade said.

Those who know a veteran that is experiencing trauma are encouraged to let them know about the program, as well as provide transportation and accompany them to the meeting.

“Veterans who are in a dark place know they need help but are reluctant to take the first step. They are trained to avoid any appearance of ‘weakness’ as well as not to open up to others. They need to realize that they are still warriors and changing tactics to fight an unseen but deadly enemy is not weakness but courage by definition.” said Wade, “We want attendees to be comfortable with a friend, relative, or spouse here. We’re also looking at starting a group for spouses.”

For information, contact Wade at (740) 512-4269, Curt Artman at (740) 632-5409 or Mark Prichard at (740) 632-8148.

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