Upon returning to the US in 2010, I began to hear, with a greater frequency, the difficulties facing miltary veterans in post-deployment life. Here is some of the data I have collected.
It is estimated that up to 40% of returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan will have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and 20% will have Traumatic Brain Injury, equating to many hundreds of thousands of cases. The lifetime taxpayer cost to serve veterans from these wars is projected at $350-$700 billion. These problems also have a long term effect on family as 24 percent of retired or separated service members have a family member or friend who has been forced to leave a job to care for a veteran full-time.
Studies show that PTSD becomes more acute the longer the vets are stateside. Depression, alcohol and drug abuse become more common for those out of work and unable to adjust to a post-deployment life. The suicide rate for military men is twice the civilian rate and three times for military women. Special veteran courts have been established for vets involved in various misdemeanor offenses, further underscoring a very severe problem.
In 2010 I connected with the Forgotten Soldier Program (FSP), a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, that provides free therapeutic sessions to vets, and their families, of all eras. Services include, counseling, psychotherapy, massage, energy work, emdr, , accupuncture and more. This is a free service to vets, funded entirely out of pocket by the practitioners, who maintain their own private clientele.
I was on staff at the FSP for many years as a therapuetic practitioner offering private and group healing sessions. Because of our frequency of travel we do not do as much work with vets or the FSP as we have but still like to help where we can.
We raised money to bring a US Military Veteran to Peru with us for our Magical Peru Journey in October 2015. We are grateful to all who contributed to bring Kathryne along on this wonderful trip. She had an amazing experience and opened up to the love and support of the entire group in a way she wasn't expecting. Thank you to all of you who showed their support. We shall continue to do this every year!! Hree is her letter of gratitude!
To everyone who contributed to my journey,
I offer you my deepest gratitude and appreciation for this amazing gift. For the first time in my life, I was fully able to receive the love and support being offered to me, without the guilt and shame of the inability to provide for myself or contribute as much to others' lives in my current situation. In the past, I would not have allowed myself to receive so much without having anything to offer in return. I realize this has kept me from many opportunities, and that without properly nourishing my own soul and allowing myself to receive fully, I have not been able to truly give to anyone or anything. Because of your generosity, I awakened to a deeper experience of love and acceptance for myself and others.
With the support of everyone involved in this journey, I was able to heal much of the trauma I experienced. The healing work I did with Gray and Victoria allowed me to feel a sense of total relaxation in my body and mind which lasted for days, and that I still experience from time to time, even a month after completing the journey. I have never felt this particular way, even after years of healing work and therapy. I actually experience positive thoughts coming into my mind without having to "work on it" or listen to recordings of affirmations. I have had acne every day since I was nine years old. It has been so severe in the past I required laser treatments and medications. By the end of the journey my skin was completely clear. This may seem inconsequential to some, but it was a huge eye-opener for me. I had given up on the idea that it is possible for me to experience clear skin, and it has affected my self-esteem in the past. These are just a few of the experiences I had on the journey, but I wanted to share, so that you could know some of the impact your gift has had. Things are still unfolding as I integrate all that I have learned while in Peru. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Sincerely, Kathryne Jones