January 21, 2013
Our son served as a Marine in Afghanistan in 2010-2011. When he returned we knew that something had changed in him - while we expected this to some degree, we had no idea at the time how drastic the change would be. As the one year anniversary of his return approached, it was clear that he was suffering with PTSD and he was not getting better - in fact, he was getting worse. Normally outgoing, sensitive, with a great sense of humor - he was increasingly withdrawn, depressed and had started drinking heavily along with smoking pot - not normal behavior for him. Over this year we (along with our son) became increasingly frustrated with the lack of response and proper care from the Marines. As this crisis finally reached a breaking point, our son was admitted to Holliswood hospital in summer 2012. It was there that we first met a small group of people who specialized in treating PTSD in combat veterans - and we started to learn much more about PTSD. It was the first time that we became aware of Hope for the Warriors. It was also the first time in over 1 year since our son's return that we encountered people who seemed to genuinely care for our son - and whose work and purpose was to help him - and to help us as his family. It started with an offer of a hotel room and transportation - completely paid for. This extended into seemingly small things, such as offers for dinner and spa for our daughter-in-law (who of course was struggling along with us as she watched her husband - our son - suffering with PTSD). We were somewhat overwhelmed and humbled by this generosity. It is difficult to express the sense of relief that we felt as we realized that there were people (outside of our family) who cared about our son and about what we were experiencing as a family - and who were actually doing something about it - working to reach out to us, offering to pay for hotel so that we could visit our son over a number of days, offering to pay for dinners and activities during that time, providing funds to help pay transportation costs, etc. These may seem like "small" things, but they are much more than just a "free" room and meal - Hope for the Warriors conveyed a sense of genuine caring that we had not experienced before - and not just for our family - we saw them reaching out to other families who were experiencing the same struggles that we were - allowing us to realize more concretely that we were not alone in this. The impact of their efforts cannot be overstated. It really is difficult to express our gratitude for the work that Hope for the Warriors is doing -- we have experienced it first hand as a family - and we know that there are many other families who have been blessed by their work - just as we have been.
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