As U.S. service men and women return home from Iraq and Afghanistan, we are reminded that Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is the signature injury of modern warfare. Pat Motley, Alabama Head Injury Foundation (AHIF) Resource Coordinator reports that in St. Clair County, Ala., she is working with Lakeside Hospice-Behavioral Services, MAPS, Eden Westside Baptist Church, and several area veteran’s programs, such as the AM Vets and DAV, to provide support and assistance to veterans who are survivors of TBI and/or PTSD.
The Cornerstone Café Veterans Support Group was formed in 2012 by concerned members of these organizations. Counselors facilitate the meetings where veterans and their family members are encouraged to share with the group any frustrations, concerns, or issues they are experiencing. As issues emerge, the veteran and/or their family members have the option of:
In one case, this group was able to identify a volunteer driver to take a veteran (and spouse) to the Birmingham VA for medical appointments. Finding a place to park and being able to walk to the VA Clinic was a major concern for this veteran. In having a volunteer drive them to the front door of the VA those worries were completely eliminated. A quick call to the volunteer’s cell phone after their appointment was all they had to do to be picked up and on their way home in record time. While it may seem a little thing, to this veteran, on this day, a volunteer driver made a tremendous difference.
In another situation, the wife of an Iraqi war veteran came to the support group. She told her husband’s story and described some of his problematic behaviors. Many in the support group were able to relate, having had similar situations. This veteran’s spouse needed to talk and to hear that others had similar experiences and to learn what they found helpful. After that meeting, she felt more encouraged about the future. It is true; we find great comfort in knowing we are not alone and that there are people who care.
The Alabama Head Injury Foundation says it is excited to be part of this support group and looks forward to providing emotional support. When appropriate, it also provides resource coordination to veterans who are survivors of traumatic brain injuries. In my opinion, AHIF does tremendous work for returning veterans and their families. For more information on AHIF, contact AHIF Resource Coordinator Pat Motley, at 205-594-4992/ firstname.lastname@example.org or Teresa Carden at email@example.com.
Source: The Alabama Head Injury Foundation
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