Your Support Offers a Life-Changing Opportunity for a Veteran
It all came down to a single moment, a single choice. His pain, his suffering, his struggle to fit back in since coming home from the Navy—it was going to end one way or the other. All he wanted was to feel normal again, and he decided to reach out for help, one more time.
A four-year veteran of the United States Navy, Chester struggled to integrate himself back into the civilian workforce and lifestyle. “I went from running a multi-million dollar propulsion system on a United States military warship to waxing the bottom of airplanes,” said Chester. “I couldn’t make friends, and I couldn’t hold a steady job.” He was beginning to realize that the only solace he could find was in violence, alcohol and drug use. Chester sought treatment through many different avenues, only to be told he needed to stop drinking and that would be his cure. “Stop drinking, and take these pills and you will be fine. That is what all of the doctors told me.” Chester said. “I knew there was more, though. I knew it was deeper than that.”
After numerous unsuccessful attempts at treatment, Chester decided it was time for a solution. “I sat down and decided I was going to commit to finding the right treatment, or I would not be around anymore to feel this pain,” Chester said. As a father of two, who had seen the effects suicide had on his daughters when the mother of his children had taken her life just a year prior, he decided to commit himself to getting better. Chester spent the next few months in and out of psychiatric facilities, as well as a dual diagnosis program in Lexington, Kentucky. At every stop he made along the way, he was simply told to “quit drinking, quit using drugs and learn to conform to society.” He told them no, that answer was not enough. Chester ended up at a domiciliary in Bath, NY. This is where he was introduced to the term Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. “It all made sense. Every symptom I had fell right in line with what PTSD causes. I felt a sense of hope knowing what was making me feel and act as I did, but then it was all about overcoming it,” said Chester.
While at the domiciliary, Chester’s case manager saw that he was driven and dedicated to overcoming his battle with PTSD. Seeing his determination, she introduced him to Warrior Salute Veteran Services. He was interviewed by Johnathan Elliott, the Clinical Coordinator at Warrior Salute. “I saw promise in Chester. I saw a desire and willingness to understand his PTSD and to overcome it,” said John. After being accepted into the program, Chester packed up and moved into the Nucor House to begin his time at Warrior Salute.
Chester came to Warrior Salute with an open mind. “I knew that I had found the help I was seeking here [at Warrior Salute],” Chester said. Chester recalls his first days at Warrior Salute where he sat down with the staff, one by one, and how they truly cared about what he said and how he felt. “You dive deep here. I spend hours behind closed doors talking to a trained therapist—something that I had not experienced before. I take part in incredible therapies; from yoga, to art therapy, to more extensive holistic therapies. It is hard work, but the reward is ten-fold,” Chester said. Chester has really taken every opportunity available to him through Warrior Salute, and made the most of every moment. “I never thought things like making art or volunteering at an animal shelter could be so meaningful to me, but now these things play a large part in my life because of how good they make me feel.”
Chester has grown immensely since walking through the door at Warrior Salute. “He has embodied what Warrior Salute is all about. He puts his heart and soul into his therapy sessions and is making phenomenal strides. We are so excited to see where he will be at when he graduates,” said John Elliott. Chester is expected to graduate in January of 2017, and his goal is to give back. “Twenty-two veterans commit suicide every day in the US, and I was going to be number twenty-three. When I leave here, I am going to go back into the world and make sure there aren’t twenty-two veterans taking their lives every day anymore. I want to teach them that help is available...they just have to ask for it, like I did.”
In honor of all veterans suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury or military sexual trauma, we ask you to consider making a donation to the CDS Wolf Foundation during this season of giving, in support of all those assisted by Warrior Salute Veteran Services, like Chester and his fellow veterans.
The CDS Wolf Foundation—named in honor of CDS Monarch founders, Lew & Phyllis Wolf—seeks donations to help support the growth and expansion of CDS Life Transitions’ otherwise unfunded community services.
Learn more: www.cdswolffoundation.org