On Saturday, June 19th, Support Over Stigma and Military Outreach USA co-hosted PTSD vs. Moral Injury ~ Unmasking the Truth at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, IL. Speakers included Zoeie Kreiner from Support Over Stigma, Chappy Ferrer from Military Outreach and the keynote speaker Major General (ret.) James Mukoyama. The event was open to the public and over 30 Veteran owned businesses and organizations that offer resources and programming to Veterans and First Responders attended.
Veteran Herb Porter started off the event, singing the National Anthem. Porter was followed by Rev. TSgt. Robert Phillips who said the invocation. When Zoeie Kreiner then took the podium, she shared the history of Support Over Stigma. Telling the story of Cpl. Patrick W. O’Reilly and how he has inspired our team into action. We provide care packages to deployed troops, stockings, gifts, Valentines and more to our Veterans to remind them that they are not alone and Squad Snacks to our First Responders. Each care package, gift, snacks and visit includes cards and letters of encouragement and resources on where to find help if they or someone they know is struggling.
Chappy Ferrer spoke about the programs offered by Military Outreach USA. Veterans Exiting Homelessness Program (VEHP) has supplied over 200 beds for Veterans and Move in Essentials as they transition out of homelessness. He went on to speak of their Foxhole Soul Counselors who offer a unique faith-based approach to working with those battling Moral Injury. Ferrer was followed by Fr. Ed McKenzie, a Vietnam Veteran and Franciscan Priest, who sung When a Soldier Makes it Home by Arlo Gutherie. It was a very moving tribute to our armed forces and our Veterans. Then Major General James Mukoyama took the podium. Mukoyama spoke of his personal experiences in Vietnam and his role in Military Outreach USA. When he addressed the crowd, he explained Moral Injury and how to help those who struggle with it.
Attendees enjoyed music curtesy of the DJ, Howard Productions, the food trucks, fellowship with other Veterans and learning from all of the Vendors about the incredible number of resources out there for those who are battling PTSD and Moral Injury.
PLEASE, if you or someone you love is struggling with the War that followed them Home, please reach out to us. We will connect you to a Battle Buddy, provide resources that might interest you and remind you that you DO NOT fight alone! We are here.