When David Patton came from his second tour of duty in the Middle East he knew there was something wrong. He just didn’t know what it was. “I would go get in the car to go somewhere and then would shut off the car and go back inside and look for my weapon and kevlar,” said Patton. “I found myself staying home more and more. If I went into a restaurant and couldn’t find a seat facing the door I’d leave.”
Patton’s family members also recognized he was having problems. They couldn’t put a finger on it either. Finally, he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was sent to a seven-week program in Topeka, Kan., and then realized he wasn’t the only veteran struggling with adjusting life at home.
Now, Patton is working to try and help those fellow vets. He is working to begin Vet 2 Vet, a peer counseling group in Washington. “The closest thing like it is in Bloomington,” said Patton. “With all of the soldiers that were activated as part of the National Guard we have a lot of vets around here.”
The Vet 2 Vet project will begin Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Harvest Community Fellowship Church at 200 West Main Street and will meet each Thursday evening after that. “We will be meeting as a group,” said Patton. “This gives the veterans a chance to talk with someone who has been through the same thing. It’s all voluntary. No one is taking attendance. There is no charge, nothing they have to do. Just show up and talk and listen. It’s all confidential.”
Getting a location for the program turned out a lot simpler than Patton had anticipated. “The people at the Harvest Community Church stepped right up,” he said. “I told them what I had in mind and they were ready to help, they provided a room and even helped with distributing fliers.”