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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sebring, OH: Community Returning Veteran PTSD Program

Little Sebring, OH is gearing up to offer its returning veterans a program of great importance. Robert Roerich, MD and Darla Hough have received approval from the local American Legion to use their space and resources for the first veteran and veteran family support group, tentatively called Veteran Freedom Fighters of America. Kick-off meeting is on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 from 7-9 p.m. All veterans and military family members are encouraged to participate in this program which will meet the 2nd Monday of every month (with an option to have additional meeting and support groups to be determined by its members). Contact 'Doc' Roerich if you have any questions.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for map and directions, agenda, etc...

Sebring is a village of approximately 5,000 people in Mahoning County of northeastern Ohio. It is 5 miles east of Alliance, Ohio and 10 miles west of Salem, Ohio. I'm pleased to share preliminary details of their inspiring Veteran Freedom Fighters of America program (please check back for any additional updates as I receive them):

WHEN?

Kick-off meeting is on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 from 7-9 p.m. All veterans and military family members are encouraged to participate in this program which will meet the 2nd Monday of every month (with an option to have additional meeting and support groups to be determined by its members).

WHERE?

American Legion Post #76
395 W California Ave
Sebring, OH 44672


Click on above image for GoogleMaps directions. Or phone the American Legion at (330) 938-9082.

MISSION STATEMENT?

The Veteran Freedom Fighters of America (VFFA) support network was founded by a veteran’s wife and a psychiatrist who saw a growing need to provide a community based support network for our returning military back from Iraq and their families. With many veterans experiencing increased stress in the aftermath of war, a critical need was identified to help heal the unseen wounds of war by providing timely support. It takes a village to help our warriors transition from military to civilian life free of the social stigma of suffering from mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and suicidal or homicidal acts.

A key component of fighting for mental peace of mind is knowing when there is a problem in relationships with friends and family. VFFA will help veterans and families fight for themselves, armed with knowledge of what problems can occur. The support group will not judge or stigmatize anyone but provide a nurturing, healing environment in order to truly return home.

AGENDA?

I. Welcome by Darla Hough and Robert Roerich. Introductions among attendees of the meeting.

II. Informal discussion and timeline of what problems can occur with returning military and their families. Feedback of what members have experienced if they wish to share with the group.

III. Survey of what resources group members would want in the group, which may include:

  • Printed and digital information handouts on depression, PTSD, and suicide for personal use.
  • Distribution of a support group work book for member’s use.
  • Information on problems with spouse or significant other and children affected by a veteran with PTSD.
  • Stress management
  • Anger management
  • Resource manual for families on financial assistance, filing disability claims from the VA, health care and referrals to outpatient, hospital and crisis hotlines.
  • Setting up peer and family support groups with group facilitator.
  • Social activities and group functions, fund raisers, grant applications.
  • Outreach and networking with others at the local, regional, state and national level to set up veteran and veteran family support networks.
CONTACT?

American Legion Post #76 will send out an invitation to their members in their newsletter informing them of their support in setting this veteran and veteran family community support network. A Salem, Ohio newspaper and others may also run a news story about this.

It is not necessary to contact anyone before coming, but if there are questions about the support network, 'Doc' Roerich will post about it on www.roadmind.com which has an announcement about this meeting. Additionally, you may contact the American Legion at (330) 938-9082 for directions or email 'Doc' at Roadmind University if you have any questions.


As the VA struggles to meet the increasing needs of our returning troops (alongside taking care of the those who've served in prior eras) more and more local and state efforts are being made to reach out and offer assistance. Programs like the one started up in Sebring, OH are vital to augment programs offered by the VA, providing yet another option and safety net for our returning troops and their families.

As Dr. Roerich says, "With the VA overwhelmed, understaffed and underfunded, getting the word out on the grass roots effort of concerned citizens and families to set up community based support networks in every hometown in America."


Other local communities are pitching in to help their returning troops in targeted and unique ways including those found in Minnesota, Oregon, and New Jersey and Philadelphia to name a few.

Kudos to them all. And here's to seeing more of this kind of thing pick up steam!

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