“A Veteran’s Mission to Help Others Heal”

Excerpt from this Davidson article.

“Suzy Lutz founded “Continuing the Mission” in 2016 to help returning veterans with PTSD. Robert Lutz serves as medical director of the all-volunteer non-profit.

Soldiers returning home may find themselves in a society that doesn’t understand—and in some cases seems oblivious to—the ongoing war. Many have post-traumatic stress and, away from their fellow soldiers and a common mission, feel isolated.

Continuing the Mission pairs veterans with service dogs trained to recognize signs of distress; then offer a calming, loving response. The dogs provide cues so the veterans identify early warnings of panic, stress or depression and can look for healthy ways to cope.

Lutz thinks most veterans come home from combat with symptoms of post-traumatic stress that normally fade with time. But repeated deployments can change that. After his last deployment he filled out a PTSD questionnaire, thinking he was fine; he then talked to Suzy, who answered the questions differently.

“She put down that I never wanted to leave the house or my dog,” Lutz said. “That was a bit of a wakeup call.”

Lutz had spent most of his deployments providing emergency medical care to fellow soldiers. He’d been shot at, landed behind enemy lines, and spent two months under daily mortar attack. In retrospect, “I think it would be abnormal not to have some symptoms after what you experience in a war.” 

He says time, counseling, and a strong family and friend support network helped him.

“Not everyone has that,” he said. “That’s why I encourage people to seek help when they need it, and to get involved in their community—especially through volunteer work.””

Read more in the full article from Davidson College and author Mary Elizabeth DeAngelis: https://www.davidson.edu/news/2019/11/11/veterans-day-familys-legacy-service-and-veterans-mission-help-others-heal

Photo Credit: Christopher Record