Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Catholic Defender: The forgotten Ones

My last year in the Army I learned a lot as I began to transition to civilian life after more than 26 years.

I had an older Brother, David, who was in the Marines.

In late 1969 he went to Viet Nam. He was six years older that I was so growing up, he was huge.

He had been a State Wrestler and Football player and I always looked up to him as an athlete.

My younger Brother, Randy, was also a Marine. He was deployed to Lebenon and was present when the bomb exploted on Oct 23, 1983.

I will always remember them and thank them for their service to our Country. My younger Brother is a true Marine.

Even though it's been 25 years, he still flies Old Glory and the Marine flag every day at his home. This story is about the unsung hero's that many have either forgotten of they get very little attention.
My Wife (A Nurse) worked at the VA in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina decimated the whole place.

We were refugees ourselves as we spent almost a month in Houston in the aftermath of Katrina.

I would go to the Civic Center in Houston and volunteer helping the refugees as a medic.

My Wife went to work at the VA in Houston to help them until Hurricane Rita threatened Houston and so we picked up stakes and went to higher ground in Missouri.

It was while my wife worked at New Orleans and Houston that we came into contact with many Korean war Vets and those who were in Viet Nam.

Many of them suffered from injuries that had not been recognized and so were left untreated. The following is taken from

The traumatic events that lead to post-traumatic stress disorder are usually so overwhelming and frightening that they would upset anyone. Following a traumatic event, almost everyone experiences at least some of the symptoms of PTSD. When your sense of safety and trust are shattered, it’s normal to feel crazy, disconnected, or numb. It’s very common to have bad dreams, feel fearful or numb, and find it difficult to stop thinking about what happened. These are normal reactions to abnormal events.

For most people, however, these symptoms are short-lived. They may last for several days or even weeks, but they gradually lift. But if you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the symptoms don’t decrease. You don’t feel a little better each day. In fact, you may start to feel worse.

Symptoms of PTSD: Re-experiencing the traumatic event
Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again)
Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things)
Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)

Symptoms of PTSD: Avoidance and numbing
Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma
Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
Loss of interest in activities and life in general
Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)

Symptoms of PTSD: Increased anxiety and emotional arousal
Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Irritability or outbursts of anger
Difficulty concentrating
Hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”)
Feeling jumpy and easily startled

Other common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
Anger and irritability
Guilt, shame, or self-blame
Substance abuse
Feelings of mistrust and betrayal
Depression and hopelessness
Suicidal thoughts and feelings
Feeling alienated and alone
Physical aches and pains

I am so proud of my Wife who today works at Fort Hood with the Wounded Warrior Unit and has help many of those who were injured in Afghanistan and Iraq.

She helped take care of those who were shot here at Fort hood on 5 November 2009. I was in Iraq when that event occured. Since I have been back to the United States, I am so proud of my Wife as they really love her.

They think of her as "Mom", they open up to her and she has helped so many of them. For her, it is like a Ministry.

If I could get her to write a book about the many stories she could tell, it would be priceless. Please keep our men and women of the Armed Forces in your prayers, those who are Veterans as wellas those serving in harms ways today.

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