Working on a facility for vets and families

Rochester VFW Color Guard

ROCHESTER, Minn. – There are more than 20 million veterans in the U.S. and tens of thousands of them call our area home. Fighting in wars is not easy for them, but it is also hard on their families.

So some in southern Minnesota are doing their part to show their support for everyone impacted by the battle.

James Crawley is a member of the Rochester VFW Color Guard. He is also a veteran. So he knows the struggles that come with being a soldier and the life after service is done.

“I hope that if they do need help, they go to the veterans organizations that they have in town, because they will do everything they can to help the veterans or their families,” Crawley said.

He knows that they cannot help everyone, so talk of a new resource in town has him pleased.

“It’s an excellent idea, because the Legion and the VFW does have certain qualifications you have to meet and it would be nice for those who aren’t eligible for the VFW to become a member, it’s important for them too,” Crawley said.

One of the biggest things returning soldiers deal with cannot be fixed with surgery.

“Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is one of those things that has been really present for a long time, it dates back even to previous wars. We’re working with Vietnam veterans, Korean veterans even and these are people, still to this day have problems with that, families still have problems to this day,” said Dave Ferber with Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Southeast Minnesota.

They work with families of deployed and returning military members, so they know that they often get left in the dark, especially when it comes to mental injuries.

“This would be a center that would treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and not only just the soldier, but the families as well and that’s really the key component here is that we’re looking at something beyond just normal treatment of just the soldier,” Ferber said.

So they are working to get in touch with the Mayo Clinic or another medical establishment to see if they can get this one-of-a-kind facility off the ground.

“We have the support of veterans groups, we have the support of a lot of related organizations that would want to see this go forward,” Ferber said.

The idea is to get this rolling in southeast Minnesota and gradually expand it to treat those in the Midwest, across the country and even across the world. It is still in the very early stages.

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