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Rays of Hope

Recently, a few of the Encouragers Team ran personal fundraising campaigns on their FaceBook pages and asked their family and friends to help us help our Veterans. Through the generosity of those individuals we were able to raise over $3,000. One-Hundred percent of their donations will go to the continuation of care for our veterans.

You may ask, "Why do you need to raise funds for veterans? Don't they get free services through the VA?"

Let me tell you the story of one of our veterans (name has been changed to protect his identity).

Taylor is a 48 year old man who was a Marine during the Desert Storm campaign. Taylor does not trust the military and with good reason. Taylor suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, not from fighting on the battlefield, but because of being sexually assaulted while in bootcamp by his peers working under the direction of his leadership staff. Because of the guilt and shame associated with the assault, Taylor has not confided with anyone except his ECTC therapist. Taylor's PTSD has resulted in numerous poor choices, fractured relationships, and criminal behaviors, which forced him into the mental healthcare system through the Veteran's Court as a condition of his probation. When Taylor began therapy he felt hopeless and was suicidal.

The VA recently implemented changes to force the veterans back to the VA for their mental health in order to keep funding within the VA. Unfortunately, veterans don't want to go back to the VA because of past practices where the veteran only receives triage assessments (20 minutes) and medication assignment.

The care we provide to our veterans goes above and beyond the normal restrictions the VA falls under. We give our veterans a full hour of psychotherapy that is supportive and provides coping skills they desperately need. In addition to this, we WON'T let our veterans fall through the cracks because of the VA's delays in treatment and often we work without knowing if the VA will ever issue another authorization for their care or pay us for services rendered.

As the founder of Encouragers Counseling & Training Centers, I have made a commitment to these men and women who have given everything to their country and who are left unsupported by the systemic failures of our government. War changes a person. They join the military as innocent idealists, are shaped and changed into trained killers, set off to experience the most horrific circumstances, and when they return home, they are provide little if any support before being set "free" to fend for themselves.

Your dollars help us help our wounded warriors in ways you cannot imagine. Today, Taylor has completed his probation, is in a healthy relationship, and has reconnected and found healing with his family. Taylor also has learned how to cope with his PTSD instead of letting it control him and he is currently enrolled in classes to become a social worker and pay it forward to help another fellow veteran.

Thank you for your caring support, prayers, and dollars. You ARE the ray of hope they need.

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