Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Focusing on the Wounded Warrior project and the plight of injured soldiers returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq, Georgetown Lunch Rotarians heard Terry Moore, formerly of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and a Department of Homeland Security senior special agent.
A long-time Rotarian and charter member of the Summerville Evening Rotary Club, he is on the Rotary District 7770 speakers bureau.
After introducing Moore and hearing about returning soldiers, Program Chair Nathan Kaminski said it is obvious one of Moore’s passions is the Wounded Warrior Project and he seems to be on a mission to spread the news about their needs.
Speaking at the Lands End Restaurant, Tuesday, May 7, Moore said the Wounded Warrior project was founded in 2003 when Roanoke, Va., organizers decided to provide comfort items to returning soldiers, giving them toothbrush and toothpaste.
These veterans and friends soon realized there is more to getting acclimated, such as putting artificial legs on you, Moore said.
He calls Roanoke his hometown. Accompanied by his wife, Jaime Moore, president of the Summerville Lunch Rotary Club, he said 9/11 and the recovery effort at Ground Zero has changed his life and that of many others serving the country. This gradually grew into a complete rehabilitative effort to assist warriors as they recover and transition back to civilian life. Thousands of warriors and caregivers receive support each year through Wounded Warrior project programs designed to nurture the mind and body and encourage economic empowerment, Moore said.
A Wounded Warrior project policy team works with Congress and the Federal government to promote policy, such as the Caregivers Act of 2010, which was signed into law by President Obama. The bill required improvements by a deadline of Jan. 1, 2011. Implementation of the actual act has failed and the job still is not done by now, Moore said.
The Combat Stress Recovery Program (CSRP) addresses the mental health and readjustment process.
Moore said there are one in five in Afghanistan, one in three in Iraq or more than 400,000 post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and brain injuries.
“Ninety per cent of families say this it helpful to be assigned to another veteran,” Moore said. “I’m one of them.”
Gary Sledge, writing for Reader's Digest Magazine, told about Donna Bachler, who took part in the recovery effort at Ground Zero after 9/11.
"Her brother Darrin Edward Rossi, private first class, U.S. Army, lies in a military cemetery in New Jersey. A victim of what Bachler calls the 'invisible wounds' of war, Rossi, at age 33, took his life in 2005, while struggling with PTSD. Bachler bears similar wounds."
"As an Army reservist and after 9/11, Bachler served in Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom, where she sustained multiple ankle injuries. The net effect of military service coupled with her brother’s suicide left her with physical and psychological wounds she carried home after her tour of duty ended in March 2011."
"Since then, Bachler has struggled with PTSD. 'You can’t see PTSD, but it’s always there,' she says. 'I fight it the best I can, but I’m always on guard in a crowded environment, always hyper vigilant.' The best medicine Bachler has found for the ongoing anguish over her brother’s suicide and for the chronic pain following reconstructive ankle surgery is Grapefruit, her psychiatric service dog. Grapefruit is by her side day and night to help cure her insomnia, reduce her dependence on pain medication, and calm her fears about everything from flying to meeting people," the Reader's Digest reported.
Of the six out of ten who obtain bachelor of science degrees, 84 per cent remain employed after one year of retraining through various means, such as education and sports, which helps make sure they are healthy, Moore said. Moore said 82 per cent of monies raised by the organization go back to the wounded warriors.
Moore said deployments to war-zones change service members and their families. These experiences can be traumatic and produce lasting emotional wounds, such as threat to life, the loss of others and seeing the wounded and the dying.
“The greatest casualty is being forgotten,” he said, quoting a Wounded Warrior project slogan.
Warriors can participate in a physical health and wellness program, called Project Odyssey, at retreats held in various locations across the country. These cover winter and summer outdoor recreation activities — such as water skiing, whitewater rafting, snowboarding, skiing, bicycling, golf, horseback riding, healthy cooking classes and rock climbing.
More than 13 US cities host Soldier Ride, a 30-mile bike ride to help overcome physical, mental or emotional wounds. The rides are exhilarating and a great way to help warriors gain confidence, Moore said. Ron Mayfield from Virginia, recently led a group of wounded veterans during a Warrior Ride through downtown Charleston. Army National Guard members came out to cheer them on as the group left the Citadel and passed Johnson Hagood Stadium, the Post and Courier recently reported. Warriors of all ability levels can bike ride using state-of-the-art hand cycles, trikes, and bicycles to accommodate warriors with various injuries and disabilities. Moore described Wounded Warrior project backpacks, which are filled with essential care and comfort items such as clothing, toiletries, playing cards and more.
“I don’t think it’s too bad of a price to pay up to $150 each for these,” Moore said he tells prospective donors.
“They’re designed to make a hospital stay more comfortable.”
For more information, visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org.
By Lloyd Mackall
For The Times