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The Pathway Home

Author: Ross Liscum
September, 2014 Issue

Between 20 percent and 30 percent of the approximately 2.8 million American troops who’ve served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD, severe depression or a related condition.

 
 
 
Recently, there was a very important graduation that took place at the Community Center in Yountville. After spending four months in a residential program for veterans, 11 were graduating that day from the Pathway Home, a residential program for soldiers suffering from PTSD and war-related stress.
 
The 11 graduates ranged in age from 25 to the mid-40s, and were combat veterans from the Marine Corps, Army and Navy. The outpouring from the community as well as the local Rotary Club in their support for this program was very heart-warming, with more than 150 family members and supporters attending their graduation. See a video of the event here.

 

 
After its grant expired, the program was scaled back to meet its financial capabilities. Since then, it’s been raising funds from various sources to continue its remarkable work. It continues to seek out public subsidies and grants to hopefully restore its startup enrollment numbers. The bottom line is the Veterans Administration (VA) will need to absorb most of the responsibility in funding these facilities across the country and, to be successful, it will need to provide the comprehensive healing formula provided by The Pathway Home.
 
Fred Gusman was recently quoted in the Christian Science Monitor Weekly, stating, “We’ll rally public support real quick when another country has a tsunami or earthquake, but what we don’t seem to get is that, quietly, we have a human tsunami going on in this country. That same despair that disaster victims feel—that they’re alone and forgotten—is what veterans experience.” Well said, Fred.
 
Studies have shown that between 20 percent and 30 percent of the approximately 2.8 million American troops who’ve served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD, severe depression or a related condition. Earlier this year, the VA indicated that 22 veterans commit suicide every day, with the annual toll exceeding 8,000. In 2012, the VA saw more than 1.3 million veterans who received care, almost 400,000 more than in 2006. This is a real issue that we need to face and support our veterans transitioning back to life in our country.
 
The Pathway Home provides comprehensive treatment for our nation’s military personnel. experiencing post traumatic stress (PTS), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other post-combat mental health challenges to successfully reintegrate into their families and the community at large.
 
It’s put together a program integrating evidence-based treatment and best practice models with holistic methods designed to address the needs of this new generation of service members. The result is a leading-edge, comprehensive program that meets the needs of these heroes on a wide variety of levels. Its success is rooted in the constantly evolving nature of its treatment plans as it searches out, develops and uses innovative approaches to constantly improve the effectiveness of treatment.
 
One of its stronger facets is constant involvement of local community members and businesses, who provide a wide range of support including free dental work, financial and/or legal advice and planning, yoga, massage therapy, bowling on Monday nights, fishing outings with the Rotarians and much more. This gives the residents the opportunity to interact with the local community in their quest to rebound from their difficult war experiences and experience that they’re valued members of this community.
 
This type of treatment opportunity has spread across the United States over the past several years, as there’s been a void with the VA to address these combat veterans’ various injuries. From my take, the unfortunate part is these facilities are saving veterans and giving them the ability to move forward with their lives, families and friends while they aren’t supported by the VA, which, ironically, will refer veterans to these programs. This must change for the good of our many sons, daughters, husbands and wives, and their children who willingly served our country and now need our full support to get them back into our communities with the help that they need. It surprises me that there isn’t more of an outcry across our country to take care of our veterans as we’re morally obligated to do.
 
It’s said that 1 percent of our population has served in the United States military. What we need to do is get the remaining 99 percent of our population more engaged in understanding and addressing these issues. Our veterans deserve this.
 

 

 
 
 
Ross Liscum, a local real estate broker with Century 21 North Bay Alliance in Santa Rosa, is a Marine Corps veteran who served in the infantry in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970 and spent his time, through 1985, in the Marine Corps Reserves attaining the rank of First Sergeant.

 

 

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