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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Denver/Boulder 'Strength after Service' Event for Vets, Military Family and Community Members

News of an upcoming event in the Longmont Daily Times-Call:

A 36-year-old Army special forces veteran on Monday attended the first of two Strength after Service workshops for fresh perspective on his combat experiences in Iraq in 2003. “It’s a gateway for understanding to a person who’s just come back from surviving the most grotesque, incomprehensible event,” said the Denver resident, who requested anonymity.

The Boulder-based nonprofit organization One Freedom sponsored the free, two-hour workshop at the Longmont Public Library to share stress-management techniques without the stigma of therapy, said Dan Taslitz, a former Marine and One Freedom speaker.

“Strength is a more global experience than being physically strong in a bad environment,” he said. “Service requires a lot of sacrifice. It also brings a very special reward. What we want to do is provide a framework (for vets) to access the reward and embrace the challenges of reintegration.”

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One Freedom pairs veterans such as Taslitz — a reconnaissance team leader in Iraq in 2004 and 2005 — with stress-management experts such as Stephen Robinson. Both men acknowledged the importance of “training up” for combat — becoming hyper aware and focused on the mission to survive and accomplish it. They said training down after discharge to reconnect with family, friends and the community is just as critical. ...

Some vets need professional help. Others need more personal resources, One Freedom organizers said. “You can use your mind, or it can use you,” Robinson said. To train down the mind, he discussed the neurophysiology of stress and touched on five stress-management skills: breath control, attention control, simulation, energy management, and rest and recovery.

“It’s not enough to wave the flag, play Toby Keith music and put a yellow ribbon in the car,” [the vet] said. “For my buddy who’s sitting next to me and drowning himself in alcohol, this may be just what he needs to open the door (for healing). ... The way I view this is it completes the circle of being a warrior.”

If you are in the area and wish to attend next Monday's session, it is open to veterans, military family and community members alike.

Event Details

What: Strength after Service, a stress-management workshop sponsored by Boulder-based One Freedom for returning veterans, their families and the community

Where: Longmont Public Library, 409 Fourth Ave. General Information Desk: 303-651-8470

When: Monday, April 23, 2007, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

What a great community resource!

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