PTSD can be difficult to recognize and deal with. “Sometimes it just kind of lays there in your head then some incident happens and you realize something is wrong. I used to love the 4th of July. Now, I really try to avoid it.”
While a lot of vets in this area may have been involved in Operation Iraqi Freedon, the Vet 2 Vet sessions are open to any former soldier. “It doesn’t matter if they were in Korea or Vietnam or Desert Storm,” said Patton. “This is open to them.”
The group sessions are not a replacement for more formal assistance veterans get through the V.A., but they will be different. “The V.A. does a good job, but even there they have a lot of people who have never served overseas. It’s just another way for a vet to get help outside of the V.A. This will help them deal with the anger and anxiety they feel, and it will be coming from people who know because they have experienced the same thing.”
Right now there is no way of knowing how many people might show up for the sessions. “I know there are vets out there that are hurting,” said Patton. “There are a few of them I talk to on a pretty regular basis. There are others who aren’t getting out at all. I hope they will show up. I know I’ll be there every Thursday night.”
For Patton the Vet 2 Vet program is his way of helping. “Doing this here is my way of giving back,” he said.