Virginia Beach

Veterans completing a program for PTSD get a surprise from community

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) -- Over two dozen veterans and their spouses were given the chance to attend a three-day program that taught them how to cope and heal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The 25 veterans and their significant others were honored with a surprise ceremony at Galilee Church in Virginia Beach on Saturday. 

Many of the veterans and their families had no idea the community had gathered there for them to thank them for their service to our country.

The ministry, "By His Wounds Ministry, Inc.", offers the Welcome Home Initiative program to veterans and their spouses for free.

"Welcome Home Initiative is about really welcoming and thanking veterans for being in war zone areas and sacrificing  what they sacrificed." said Laura Riley with By His Wounds Ministry.

One veteran was in the Marine Corp, and retired after 20 years. He said one of the reasons why he participated in the program was to deal with anger.

"It’s pretty awesome, I thought I was going to come here and, I receive 70 percent from VA to PTSD, and I thought it was going to be one of the multiple engagements for tragedies that happen in war. And God said, 'your anger needs to be resolved' and I feel like it has been." he said.

The program gave veterans resources to cope. "They get to have several meetings with different clinical workers and priests and praying for healing and learning about post traumatic stress and how that can be impactful to the people who experienced war, but also to their families when they come home," said Riley

The program happens throughout the country, and this time it was right here in Hampton Roads. It's the 36th time the program has happened.

It was a memorable one for veterans, who felt they have finally been welcomed home properly, even more fitting it happened just in time for veterans day.

By His Wounds Ministry is a nonprofit. To learn more about their cause or to donate click here.


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