City Social Magazine

MAR-APR 2017

City Social Magazine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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30 r e a d u s o n l i n e a t w w w . c i t y s o c i a l . c o m 30 r ecently a small event was held at c amp Hope, an interim housing facility and program for veterans with combat related P tsd , where a few board members and spouses attended. o ne of the spouses in attendance was for- merly a schoolteacher. a t the event that evening, a veteran that had just checked into our peer-to-peer progam approached her, speaking her name and saying, " i t's great to see you." o bviously, she was extremely surprised to see him there. Here is what she did not know: on 9/11, still a high school student, he went to the Marine Corps recruiter office and signed up. In 2003, he was in the initial push into Baghdad. After coming home, he struggled greatly. In more recent days, he lost a lot, including his wife. He talked about being in and out of the psych ward (8 times) at the VA, as well as multiple stays in the county jail. This all led to what he described as his "worst moment". He was angry, drinking way too much, and felt that suicide was his only way out. Something angered him late one evening and he went out and shot his weapon multiple times including shooting at his neighbor's house. Obviously he knew that woud draw law- enforcement, so he took his weapon and drove to another county. About an hour later, the sheriff's office called his cell phone. They asked where he was and he would only say in a different county, under a tree in the middle of a field somewhere. He then told the officer he needed to speak with somebody that can make a decision. After some arguing, about an hour later, a captain got on the phone with this Veteran. He told the officer that he needed to pay attention, and this is how this was all going to go: "One," he said, "I've heard about Camp Hope but never been there, but I believe they might be able to actually help me, let me go there. The other option is simpleā€”in a moment you will hear a pop and after that the world will never hear from me again." The sheriff's department immediately got on our crisis line while this captain continued to speak and argue with the vet. After about 20 minutes, the captain said, "OK, you can go to Camp Hope." The officer did not pursue taking him to jail, but kept his word and allowed this veteran to come to us. When I arrived at Camp Hope the evening of the event, the Board member's spouse conveyed that story to me with tears streaming down her face and repeatedly thanking me for all that Camp Hope does for our veterans. We are only able to do this because of the financial generosity of indi- viduals and companies that faith- fully support our work. Personally, I spoke with that veteran just a few days ago. That Marine looked me in the eye and said unequivocally that Camp Hope is the only reason he is alive today. Who wouldn't want to be a part of saving wounded heroes? s aving w ounded Heroes By David Maulsby

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