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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hand2Hand Contact Brings Soldiers All the Way Home, Easter Seals Helps Vets with TBI

Back in May, just as my Moving a Nation to Care book tour began, I received an incredible email from a woman named Alison Lighthall:

I am a psychiatric nurse with a specialization in PTSD/Combat Stress (Masters Degree from UIC focused on PTSD). I work full time in the civilian sector as the Behavioral Health Clinical Team Leader at a disease management company, but I also served as a Reserve Officer in the US Army Nurse Corps.

I just separated from the Army 3 weeks ago, but up until then, I served as a Captain and was conducting briefings and debriefings for Soldiers as they were going over and coming home (medical teams, mostly, but I've trained a section of the 85th Custer Division, too). And in so doing, I have heard a lot, and learned a lot, about what they face when they come home.

I put together a PowerPoint about what they face when they return, and in January sent it to 16 friends/family members. It has now made it around the world and back, much to my utter astonishment.

Not only using visual outreach to educate, Alison's also been laying the foundation for a Chicago-area organization aimed at educating "civilians across America about the psychosocial impact of war on the returning Service Member, and to assist American communities in understanding, supporting, and reintegrating our Veterans."

Hand2Hand Contact is now online, and I invite you to take a look at the offerings she's put together for us.

In addition, Alison passed along an important program slated to begin in August in select cities (Sacramento, CA; Hartford, CT; and in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX) which will lend a hand to troops returning with traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

Here are the details:

Do you think you may have sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan?

Easter Seals invites service members and veterans who may have sustained mild to moderate TBI to take part in a support program that is designed to improve brain function for service members returning from Iraq or Afghanistan.

The program is offered free of charge to participants and is part of a service project involving Easter Seals and Posit Science. A disability rating is not needed to participate.

Sign up now. The program begins in August and runs for 14 weeks at Easter Seals affiliates in: Sacramento, CA; Hartford, CT; and in Ft. Worth/Dallas in TX. Participants who complete the program will receive a modest stipend and reimbursement for program-related expenses.

For more information, please call our toll-free number: 866.423.4981 or contact us at: veterans@easterseals.com.

Thanks, Alison, for everything you're doing. Great to have such a qualified and passionate ally in this cause!

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