Speaking at Vets for Vets in Pagosa Springs, Colorado about children and families of warriors…

VetsforVets

Veterans for Veterans.org Mission  click on website…

Veterans for Veterans…  Quote from this website…

“Veterans for Veterans of Archuleta County is a volunteer charitable organization, 501 c (3), who are veterans helping other veterans to provide financial assistance to veterans and their families in need, to advocate for veterans, provide education and counseling, and to provide a resource of information and experience.”

Membership shall consist only of veterans from the Armed Forces of the United States of America (Air Force, Army, Marines, and Coast Guard).

You may join and contribute as an Associate member, but have no voting right.

We meet every Tuesday, 10:00 am at the Quality Resort, 3505 West Hwy 160.

The last Tuesday of the month will be an evening meeting to accommodate those that cannot make the morning meetings.  Location: Same as AM.  Time: 6:00 PM

All Veterans Welcome and Refreshments will be offered.

Our Mission

Vets for Vets of Archuleta COuntyMission:  Veterans for Veterans of Archuleta County is a 501 c (3) organization established exclusively for charitable purposes, more specifically:

  1. For veterans to help veterans.
  2. To provide financial assistance to veterans in need.
  3. To advocate for the veteran with the Veterans Administration.
  4. Provide information and experience resources.

We provide outreach to veterans in our community and assist in a variety of needs such as:

  1. Financial assistance.
  2. Assistance in accessing medical, dental and eye care.
  3. Housing assistance.
  4. Emotional assistance to help overcome the scars of war such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injuries and effects of Agent Orange.
  5. Help provide transportation to out-of town VA appointments.
  6. Hold weekly meetings providing the veteran with up to date information and a place for veterans so they can share information and fellowship.
  7. Help provide information and emotional support to family members of veterans.
  8. Ensure veterans receive access to the Veterans Administration (VA) benefits earned through their service in the armed forces.

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While speaking at the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Medical Center in Albuquerque last week, I was encouraged to make contact with Veterans for Veterans in Pagosa Springs, CO, to share my story about intergenerational PTSD.  I received an enthusiastic response when contacting the group, and was made to feel welcome to attend and speak at their regularly scheduled Tuesday 10am meeting.  I came early to the meeting to get a feel for the group to help me with my initial interaction.  I immediately felt right at home with my brothers and sisters who have served America in the Armed Forces, especially the many members who served during the Vietnam War.

Before speaking to the group, I had a chance to  talk to several of the members before the meeting started and to listen to the formal discussion, including reports from the committees who work on community outreach, fund raising, VA updates and support, and programs to engage veterans with veterans.  There are now over 120 veteran members of this lively and active non-profit whose passionate work is devoted solely to Archuleta County veterans of all wars.

I immediately recognized the value of veterans forming their own group and taking ownership for helping each other in rural communities in particular.  I could feel the bonding, camaraderie and fellowship.  I was impressed with the quality of leadership on the board as well.  This is a group that is making a huge difference for veterans and their families close to home.  I have written about the value of veterans groups supported by local communities (click on link) to complete the circle of support starting with the transition to civilian life and the outgoing support needs once our veterans return home.  The Vets for Vets model is exactly the right solution and is showing results evidenced by the support and enthusiasm of the veterans who are members and volunteers.  I could not be more encouraged!

Clearly pumped up with enthusiasm, it came time for me to speak to the group.  Sharing my story by referencing the challenges of a post WWII and Korean War military family life during the 1950’s and early 1960’s, connected immediately with the close to 40 veterans attending this meeting, including spouses and family members.  There was one striking boomer aged lady in attendance who caught my attention because she appeared highly emotional as I talked about forgiving my father and mother once learning about how war comes home and can tear a family apart in life after war.  I also talked about the importance of forgiving ourselves first, paving the way to forgiving others and in making a difference for the greater good.  Trauma survivors have a tough time with forgiveness, especially forgiving yourself.  But we know now that the journey of healing in life after trauma is not possible until self-forgiveness is experienced.  

These are the heartfelt healing moments and experiences that come my way while helping others know more about moral injury and the intergenerational effects of PTSD on children and families of warriors.  Helping one person at a time encourages me everyday to keep on writing and speaking about life after trauma.   I hope to stay in touch with Veterans for Veterans in Pagosa Springs, and those who purchased my book and came up to chat with me privately following the meeting.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

 

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

 

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