SOURCE: PTSD Foundation of America

PTSD Foundation of America

PTSD Foundation of America

July 03, 2014 09:00 ET

PTSD Foundation of America Announces Michael Berry as Spokesman

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - Jul 3, 2014) - Keeping Veterans diagnosed with PTSD alive is the relentless passion of the PTSD Foundation of America, and now Michael Berry, the Czar of Talk Radio, will officially serve as the Spokesman for the Foundation and Camp Hope. According to VA reports, every 65 minutes a veteran takes his or her own life, and more that 250,000 post-9/11 veterans suffer with post-traumatic stress. For just over five years the PTSD Foundation has served as "boots on the ground" (see attached for overview of the Foundation's history) with an unparalleled commitment to saving lives and restoring families affected by PTSD.

Since first visiting Camp Hope in early 2013, Michael Berry has spoken often of the great work of the PTSD Foundation and Camp Hope resulting in 1) numerous veterans being assisted through Camp Hope and 2) networking multiple organizations and individuals bringing well over $100,000 in financial support for the Foundation. Multiple events are planned throughout the remainder of 2014 with Mr. Berry personally involved in raising awareness to the issues of military related PTSD as well as raising funds in support of the PTSD Foundation and Camp Hope.

"We are so excited that Michael has the desire to be the voice of the PTSD Foundation," says Mr. Gene Birdwell, Founder of the PTSD Foundation. "Michael has been a consistent and effective voice in support of veteran related issues and we are thrilled with this new partnership. Literally, lives have already been saved because of his assistance, and no doubt many, many more will be saved with his involvement with our efforts."

"These men and women -- and yes, there ARE also women -- served our country," Berry said. "Now it's time we serve them. I can't imagine the horrors they've witnessed, the sense of loss when their buddies don't come home, the physical and mental pain they feel every day. These are proud warriors, and I want to do my part to help them beat their daily struggles and win in life." Berry noted that he will use his radio show, which airs in Houston on 740 am KTRH from 8a-11 and 5p-7p, as well as on 950 AM KPRC from noon-2, and in 9 other markets from NY to Atlanta to Oregon, to enlist the support of his listeners to raise money for this organization. 

The PTSD Foundation of America is a 501 c 3 Non-Profit. For more information regarding the PTSD Foundation of America and Camp Hope, please visit www.ptsdUSA.org

For greater, more in-depth information, or for personal interviews, please contact the following:

PTSD FOUNDATION MEDIA CONTACT:
DAVID MAULSBY
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
OFFICE: 281-664-7948
EMAIL: DAVID.MAULSBY@PTSDUSA.ORG

MICHAEL BERRY MEDIA CONTACT:
Chad Nakanishi
EMAIL: MICHAELBERRYSHOW@REAGAN.COM

Our Mission To combat Post Traumatic Stress

  • Bring healing to our military community (Active duty, Reserves and National Guard, veterans, and their families) through pastoral counseling, and peer mentoring, both on an individual basis, and in group settings.
  • Raise awareness of the increasing needs of the military community through public events, media outlets, social media, service organizations, and churches.
  • Networking government agencies, service organizations, churches and private sector businesses into a united "Corps of Compassion," to bring their combined resources together to meet the needs of the military community on a personal and individual/family level.

After years of supporting a global organization serving the military, Mr. Gene Birdwell launched a grassroots effort and formed the PTSD Foundation of America in 2009. The first Executive Director was hired, local veterans were assisted, and our first peer-to-peer support groups were started at the Star of Hope Mission in downtown Houston. Additional staff were soon hired and groups were launched across the area on various days and times throughout the week. Below is a brief introduction to the many facets of the PTSD Foundation of America, now serving veterans from all across the nation. The work of the Foundation is supported by caring individuals, and companies from small "mom and pop" operations to global corporations.

Warrior Groups are fellowships for combat veterans and their families to share their experiences, testimonies of healing, compassion and hope in overcoming the invisible wounds of war. These groups meet weekly in various locations.

The Warrior Family Support Groups exist to assist family members (spouse, parent, sibling, child, caretaker, etc.) of PTSD sufferers in understanding and healing from combat related stresses. These groups meet weekly in various locations.

One-on-One Mentoring While peer and small group support opportunities encompass much of our program, they are augmented by necessary one-on-one time with trained mentors. We utilize a faith-based, step program as the foundation of the Camp Hope recovery program, individual mentor sessions, the Combat Trauma Support Groups and in working with veterans and families nationwide committed to healing via multiple media avenues.

Camp Hope In 2012, the dream (building an interim housing facility for veterans with PTSD and their families) of the original leadership team of the PTSD Foundation of America came to fruition. Camp Hope, a division of PTSD Foundation, broke ground and had its Grand Opening on Armed Forces Day on May 18, 2012. Camp Hope assists veterans with a myriad of issues to include job placement, transportation and peer support groups integration as they pursue the rewarding and fulfilling lives they so richly deserve. Camp Hope continues to expand its physical capacity and services offered. Veterans and their families from several states across America have lived at Camp Hope expense free while rebuilding their lives. The Greystar Corporation along with some 100+ other companies have invested countless hours and thousands of dollars and donated materials to bring hope to our veteran community.

Warrior's Shield Radio Began in March of 2013, the mission of Warrior's Shield Radio is to reach out to our Military and Veteran community and their families from a faith based perspective with real, practical help. We understand that when a person serves in the military, their family serves along with them.

The PTSD Foundation has expanded into several cities already and is in the process of training people for two additional cities, with others standing in line for training. This includes warrior groups, family support groups and peer-to-peer mentoring serving Fort Hood, the largest military base in the nation.

Hundreds of lives have been touched in our short existence. Many veterans willingly and openly state that were it not for the work and the staff of the Foundation, they likely would no longer be alive. Whatever the cost, we will invest it for the cause of saving the life of a single veteran.

Why We Do What We Do

The Reality

  • Estimated 25%-33% of adult homelessness is made up of US military veterans
  • Recent research indicates 50% of returning troops are experiencing symptoms of PTSD
  • The VA reports 22 veterans commit suicide every day (based on 21 states reporting, not including the two states with the largest veteran population, California and Texas)
  • Since 2008, the military has lost more troops to suicide than in combat
  • 58,000 troops died during the Vietnam War, more than 150,000 Vietnam veterans have committed suicide since coming home (last updated in 2012)

The Redeemed

"My name is SSG Samuel Askins. I am from Willis, Texas and have been serving in the United States Army since March of 1997. I am a 16 year veteran and recipient of the Combat Infantryman's Badge for combat in 2004-2005 in Baghdad Iraq.

While serving with MNSTC-I J3 Convoy Security Team I was hit with IED's, VBIED's and fought in numerous skirmishes and ambushes involving small arms. Although not physically injured in Iraq I came home a changed man. They say war changes a man and I believe that it not only changes your perspective on the world it also hardens your heart.

Upon returning home from war something didn't feel the same. I was noticing every time I went into public I was still looking for the bombs, scanning the crowds for potential threats and having major anxiety attacks. I could not feel emotions like I had before. I was married to a fellow Staff Sergeant and she was beginning to notice that I was drinking more at night before bed. I didn't have the heart to tell her it was because I was scared to go to sleep. I stopped sleeping unless the sun was up and I was on post. We decided that since my heart wasn't "In It" any longer that I would become a fulltime drilling Reservist and I could get a normal 9-5 job. The problem with that idea was by this time I had a full blown severe case of PTSD.

I had started taking medication from the VA & I became depressed and could not find suitable employment. I started getting angry. I drank more often and began shutting myself in the house for weeks at a time (isolation). My poor wife had to toe the line in all aspects of life. I began to think of myself as a failure and a bad husband and father. I became even more depressed. We split numerous times during this debacle. Then she had to deploy to Iraq once again. When she was free of me she was able to breathe and she sent me a Dear John letter. I was at the end of my rope and no matter how hard I tried I was just pushing it up. I spiraled out of control. I was taking care of our two year old daughter and she had to see me sobbing uncontrollably and shutting myself in the house. She would waddle up to me and pat me on the arm ask if "Daddy sick?" then kiss me and crawl up in my lap. I know now that God sent her to save me, she was all I had. I wanted to die and planned on doing so soon. I called my mother and had her pick up my daughter and my dog. I was going to drink myself to death. I almost succeeded. I woke up one night in jail. I had no recollection of the night before but from the stories the jailers told I had a meltdown. My ex-wife had started the paperwork to take my daughter away from me. I had become the crazy man in the cammo jacket. After 30 days in the County Jail the judge released me on a PR bond. I came home to Houston and felt like a complete disgrace. PTSD had robbed me of everything, my sanity, my family and even my freedom. Every relationship that I held dear, my wife, my daughter, family, friends and my Army career was in ruin. I didn't know where to turn. I called a friend in the local Reserve unit in Conroe. He put me in touch with Lt. Col Jeff Presnal and the PTSD Foundation of America. They came out to Willis to get me for weekly meetings and introduced me to the men and women in the groups. That was a year ago.

Today I have HOPE. I have been sober since 03 Aug 2011. I have completed inpatient treatment for addiction. God restored in me in mind and he made my hard heart flesh. I can feel emotions now. I no longer take copious amounts of psychiatric medication. By the Grace of God my ex-wife has allowed my daughter to return into my life. My family and friends have started to trust me again. I have a personal relationship with Christ. I am now the one reaching out to help other veterans. This was made possible because Pastor David Maulsby, Jeff and Sandra Presnal and Victor Garcia never gave up on me. PTSD Foundation saved my life and now it's time that I give back and help other veterans like me find restoration and healing through Jesus Christ. No child deserves to lose either of their parents just because they were honorable enough to make sacrifices in the name of our great country and freedom. God Bless the PTSD Foundation of America and God Bless everyone who supports us."

(For additional stories of lives saved through the work of the PTSD Foundation, please visit http://ptsdusa.org/get-help/testimonies/)

Families It is said every veteran suicide affects 11 other individuals directly. Losing a veteran means we have lost a son or daughter, in many cases a father, or even a mother. The investment in reaching a veteran and helping that veteran restore their life positively impacts that family, and society in general. It is commonly understood that the affects and costs of suicide are great on the nation's economy in addition to the psychological impact on family, friends, and fellow soldiers.

Costs

The PTSD Foundation of America is a 501(c)(3) in accordance with IRS regulations. Staff is limited, and much of the work, including support group facilitators, is done by volunteers. The administrative staff receives no income of any kind from the PTSD Foundation of America, allowing donations to go to the work intended. While the supporting base of individuals and companies is growing, the Foundation and Camp Hope still run on a deficit. In addition, new funding is required to expand this outreach to other cities and states. Clearly, it takes more than a bumper sticker on the back of our automobiles to support the troops. The work of saving a life, assisting a veteran and their families in a "new normal" and providing continued support costs money. While many good causes exist, it is incumbent on our nation to provide care and support for those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

Twitter: @ptsdusa
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ptsdusa
www.michaelberry.com 
Twitter: @michaelberrysho
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MichaelBerryFanPage

Contact Information

  • For greater, more in-depth information, or for personal interviews, please contact the following:

    PTSD FOUNDATION MEDIA CONTACT:
    DAVID MAULSBY
    EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    OFFICE: 281-664-7948
    EMAIL: DAVID.MAULSBY@PTSDUSA.ORG

    MICHAEL BERRY MEDIA CONTACT:
    Chad Nakanishi
    EMAIL: MICHAELBERRYSHOW@REAGAN.COM