A 501(c)(3), Vets Journey Home invites veterans to share their stories. When veterans get home they bring back important stories to tell, of adventures and pain, of fear and courage, of lessons learned. But often friends and family do not want to listen or are uncomfortable talking about war. So, if veterans are going to open up at all, they often seek out another veteran to talk with. Unfortunately, when veterans talk together of the war, attempts at sharing the grief and pain often slip into a "That ain't nothing" or "Top this one" exchange of war stories.
So finding relief or closure through telling one's story is difficult to achieve and the deeper truths remain untold; the deeper pains remain unprocessed. Eventually, many veterans lock up their authentic stories deep inside their "inner vault" and stop talking. Often when a vet comes home from war, people ask “how was it” when the vet begins to talk about the pain that sits on their hearts, it gets to be too much to share, So it gets stuffed down. This can lead to drinking, drugs, lack of intimacy. Staffed by graduates of the program and civilians who are willing to listen to the stories and be present with them while they share the pain and the story. This listening allows the vet to experience unconditional regard and acceptance, making it safe to open up even the deepest story, knowing it will truly be heard and not judged.
It takes the large group of caring individuals to “hold” that deep pain – because of the group, healing can occur that often takes much longer in a one-on-one therapy relationship. Vets Journey Home Coordinator for Texas shares: I attended my first Vets Journey Home Weekend in Maryland in 2005. The impact it made on my life is incredible. Immediately I made a decision to bring the program to Texas. With the support of my family, friends and fellow veterans, I have coordinated weekends every year since.I am a retired Supervising US Probation Officer. As a life member of five of the larger veteran organizations and a Service Officer for three of those organizations in my community of Katy, Texas, I am privileged to continue honoring veterans in many different ways.
I have donated space in my community where the County Veteran Service Officers and I provide service to veterans once a week. "Sam is an American hero! There are hundreds of thousands of veterans living in hell alone, not being able to fully shake off the memories of the horrors of war that they physically survived, but mentally are still tormented by. The only way out of it, or at least getting past it, is through heart-to-heart conversations with others who have gone through the same. And yet, these legions of tormented warriors will fight the very thing that can offer hope of a better life. Sam is in the forefront of helping those healing conversations take place.
His documentary "Vets' Journey Home" should be viewed by all vets who still suffer from the horrors of war, their families and those who provide care to them. God bless Samuel Luna" — Mark Goulston, M.D. , author, "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for Dummies"