METROFOCUS: NOVEMBER 11, 2019

November 12, 2019 at 5:30 am

We’ll join a group of veterans and their supporters on a road trip across the nation to preserve the memories of Vietnam vets. Each year, thousands of veterans die by suicide while adjusting to life back at home. We’ll take you inside a program enlisting vets to save one another. Tonight, we meet a few four-legged heroes training for an important mission.

Aired on November 11, 2019.

Transcript Print

>>> TONIGHT ON "METROFOCUS,"
SPECIAL EDITION.
FROM THE FRONT LINE TO THE HOME
FRONT.
AS WE HONOR OUR NATION'S
VETERANS, WE JOIN A GROUP OF
THEM AND THEIR SUPPORTERS ON A
ROAD TRIP ACROSS THE NATION TO
SHARE THE LEGACY OF THE WALL
THAT HEALS AND PRESERVE THE
MEMORIES OF VIETNAM VETS.
>>> THEN FROM HONORING VETERANS
TO SAVING THEM.
EACH YEAR THOUSANDS OF VETERANS
DIE BY SUICIDE WHILE ADJUSTING
TO LIFE BACK AT HOME.
WE'LL TAKE YOU INSIDE THE
OPERATION ENLISTING VETS TO SAVE
ONE ANOTHER.
>>> PLUS THE PAWS OF WAR AND
STORIES OF RECOVERY.
AFTER THE PRESIDENT HONORED THE
BRAVE DELTA FORCE DOG THAT
HELPED TAKE DOWN THE LEADER OF
ISIS, WE'LL MEET SOME OTHER
FOUR-LEGGED HEROES TRAINING FOR
AN IMPORTANT MISSION HERE AT
HOME.
THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS
"METROFOCUS" STARTS RIGHT NOW.

§
>> THIS IS "METROFOCUS" WITH
RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND
JENNA FLANAGAN.
>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE
BY
JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH,
SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III,
THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA
PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT
ANTI-SEMITISM.
BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ,
BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG,
AND BY --
>> WHEN VIETNAM VETERANS FIRST
RETURNED FROM THE WAR, THE
PUBLIC'S RESPONSE WAS FAR FROM
POSITIVE, AND IT WASN'T UNTIL
THE VIETNAM VETERAN MEMORIAL IN
WASHINGTON, D.C. WAS OPENED TO
THE PUBLIC IN 1982 THAT THESE
VETS WERE TRULY RECOGNIZED FOR
THEIR SERVICE.
IN NOVEMBER 1996, THE VIETNAM
VETERANS MEMORIAL FUND LAUNCHED
THE WALL THAT HEALS, A PROGRAM
WHERE A 250-FOOT REPLICA OF THE
FAMOUS MEMORIAL TRAVELS
THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY TO HONOR
THE 58,000 PLUS MEN AND WOMEN
WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THAT
CONFLICT.
AND TODAY VIETNAM VETS ARE BEING
HONORED WITH THIS REPLICA, WHICH
IS BEING ESCORTED BY OVER 300
VETERAN BIKERS.
WE SPOKE TO SOME VETERANS ABOUT
THEIR REACTIONS TO THIS HEALING
WALL.
>> WE SKORTED THE TRAILER DOWN
HERE WITH THE VIETNAM WALL.
>> WE KICK STARTED THE EVENT
WITH A MOTORCYCLE ESCORT OF THE
TRACTOR-TRAILER CONTAINING THE
WALL.
>> WHEN WE BRING THE TRAILER AND
THE WALL THAT HEALS INTO A
COMMUNITY, WE USUALLY START AT A
SEPARATE LOCATION AND WE SKORT
IT IN.
WE DO WIT THE BIKES AND THE
FANFARE.
MANY OF THE BIKES AT THE FRONT
OF THE TRAILER WERE VIETNAM
VETERAN, WE WANTED TO HAVE A
GREAT SHOWING FOR OUR ESCORT FOR
THE WALL.
A LOT OF MOTORCYCLE
ORGANIZATIONS, MILITARY,
VETERAN, AND COMMUNITY
ORGANIZATIONS.
>> WE'VE DONE SEVERAL ESCORTS
BEFORE, AND THIS WAS ON THE
LARGER SIDE, I WOULD SAY.
>> THERE ARE SO MANY RIDERS
HERE, IT'S UNREAL.
>> EVERY GROUP THAT I CONTACTED
WAS MORE THAN WILLING AND
THRILLED TO CONTACT US.
>> WE FELT THIS WAS SOMETHING WE
SHOULD DO.
A GREAT HONOR TO DO THAT.
WE WERE PROUD TO DO THAT.
>> EVERYTHING WAS WELL
COORDINATED.
IT WAS A REALLY NICE RIDE.
>> TRAFFIC STOPPED.
>> AND SALUTED, WAVING A SIGN.
THEY HAD THE FIRE ENGINES WITH
THE FLAG-DRAPED ACROSS THE
BRIDGE.
THAT WAS AMAZING TO RIDE UNDER.
THE STATE POLICE WERE LINED UP
SALUTING US.
THAT WAS VERY OVERWHELMING.
ONCE WE ARRIVED HERE AT THE
LEGION, THE MOOD OF THE BIKERS
WERE AMAZING.
IT WAS A VERY EMOTIONAL AND
MOVING EVENT FOR ALL THE RIDE.
>> THE AMERICAN LEGION HERE IN
SAWYERSVILLE, THEY'RE OUR HOST.
THEY WERE INSTRUMENTAL IN
GETTING US HERE.
THERE ARE A LOT OF OTHER GROUPS.
IT'S GREAT TO SEE MANY GREAT
GROUPS COME OUT.
>> THEY HAD A VISION.
THE AMERICAN LEGION RIDERS HERE
IN THE POST HAD A VISION OF
DOING SOMETHING HUGE FOR THEIR
COMMUNITY.
AND THEY SAID LET'S BRING THE
WALL HERE.
LET'S BRING THE WALL HOME.
[ APPLAUSE ]
>> THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL
FUND BUILT THE WALL IN
WASHINGTON, D.C., AND WE
DEDICATED IT 35 YEARS AGO.
AND SO IN NOVEMBER OF 1996, WE
BUILT THE WALL THAT HEALS.
HELPING PEOPLE REMEMBER AND
HEAL.
>> WE'RE GOING TRAVEL TO 41
COMMUNITIES.
WE STARTED IN LATE JANUARY AND
WE WILL GO THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF
DECEMBER.
>> THE EDUCATION CENTER IS
PERHAPS ONE OF THE MOST UNIQUE
THINGS AMONGST THE WALL THAT
HEALS.
>> THERE IS THREE INFORMATION
SCREENS ON THE BACK OF THE
TRUCK.
>> WHICH ARE GOING TO ROTATE
THROUGH PICTURES OF THE HOMETOWN
HEROES THAT ARE ON THE WALL, AS
WELL AS THE WALL OF FAITH AND
SCREEN WHICH IS GOING TO SHOW
PICTURES OF EVERYONE WHO WOULD
HAVE HAD THEIR BIRTHDAY ON THAT
DAY ON THE WALL.
>> IT ALLOWS PEOPLE TO SUDDENLY
HAVE EVEN MORE OF A WALL
EXPERIENCE, BECAUSE ON THREE
PANELS THERE, YOU CAN SEE SOME
OF THE ITEMS THAT HAVE BEEN LEFT
BEHIND AT THE WALL.
THE WALL HAS REALLY TOUCHED
MILLIONS OF PEOPLE EVERY YEAR,
AND THEY'VE LEFT SO MANY THINGS.
>> THEY'RE AMAZING BECAUSE IT'S
SOMETHING PERSONAL THAT WAS LEFT
AT THE WALL IN WASHINGTON.
>> EACH ONE HAS ITS OWN LITTLE
WAY OF GRABBING AT YOU, BECAUSE
IT'S SOMETHING THAT WAS LEFT BY
ONE VETERAN OR ANOTHER THAT LOST
HIS LIFE THERE.
THAT GAVE HIS ALL.
>> IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT
PEOPLE RECOGNIZE THE SACRIFICES
THAT WERE MADE BY THE VETERANS.
>> IT'S ALSO THE WELCOME HOME
THAT THE VIETNAM SOLDIERS DIDN'T
GET WHEN THEY CAME BACK IN THE
LATE '60s AND EARLY '70s.
>> THE TONE WAS THEY WAS NOT
RESPECTED AT ALL.
THEY HAD PEOPLE YELLING AT THEM,
THROWING STUFF AT THEM.
JUST WAS NOT GREAT.
>> WHEN WE CAME BACK FROM
VIETNAM, WE WERE NOT WELCOMED
WITH ANY PARADE.
WE WERE THE ONES THAT WERE
SHUNNED.
>> LIKE EVERYBODY LOOKED DOWN ON
US.
WE WERE BABY KILLERS AND THEY
SPIT AT YOU OR SOMETHING.
WE DIDN'T HAVE ANYBODY IN THE
AIRPORT MEETING US WHEN WE CAME
BACK.
>> WE'RE KIND OF USED TO THE
HUMILIATION OR WHATEVER YOU CALL
IT WHEN WE CAME BACK.
>> THAT HURT DEEPLY.
SOME OF THEM STILL GOT IT
BOTTLED UP IN THEM.
THEY GOT TO LET IT GO.
THAT'S WHY WE CALL THIS THE WALL
THAT HEALS SO THEY CAN GET OUT
HERE AND SEE THIS PROCESS.
>> I THOUGHT THIS WAS VERY
IMPORTANT FOR SOME LEGIONNAIRES
THAT COULDN'T MAKE TO IT
WASHINGTON.
>> AND THIS KIND OF SOFTENS JUST
A LITTLE BIT, A LITTLE MORE
ACCEPTABLE.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO TRAVEL SO FAR.
>>
>> NO MATTER WHAT YOU BRING IN
THE WORLD TO THE WALL, YOU GET
HERE AND EVERYTHING SLOWS.
IT CALMS.
THEIR LIVES ENDED, BUT YOU CAN
REMEMBER THEM AND REMEMBER THEIR
SACRIFICE AND THEIR PEACE.
IT'S A VERY TOUCHING MOMENT WHEN
YOU SEE THE NAMES OF THE PEOPLE
YOU KNEW RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF
YOU ON THAT WALL.
>> I WASN'T SURE HOW BIG THE
NAMES WERE GOING TO BE.
AND THEY'RE REALLY SMALL.
SO THAT MEANS THERE IS A LOT OF
NAMES ON HERE.
>> TURN AROUND AND LOOK AT IT,
EVERY ONE OF THOSE PANELS HAS A
LOT OF NAMES ON IT.
>> TO SEE THIS MANY NAMES AND
REALLY PUT IN PERSPECTIVE HOW
MANY MEN REALLY LOST THEIR LIFE.
>> I HAD 23 OF MY COMRADES'
NAMES ON THAT WALL.
THEY LOST THEIR LIVES IN ONE
NIGHT ON THAT WALL.
>> THERE WAS A CREW OF 34.
AND I THINK LOST 25 OF THE 34.
>> A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE TRYING
TO DO THE RIGHT THING, AND JUST
COULDN'T GET BACK.
>> IT'S A BEAUTIFUL TESTAMENT TO
ALL THOSE WHO DID SERVE IN
VIETNAM WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES.
>> I GOT A SENSE IT DOES HEAL.
IT MIGHT PUT THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE
R STILL ALIVE AT EASE THAT A GUY
THAT GAVE ALL THAT HE KNEW IS
ACTUALLY GOING TO BE REMEMBERED.
>> THEY WANTED TO SAY HI TO
THEIR COMRADES THAT WERE LOST,
AND JUST TOUCH SOMETHING
TANGIBLE AND SAY I DIDN'T FORGET
YOU.
>> IF YOU LOST A FAMILY MEMBER,
I FEEL LIKE IT'S BE REALLY
IMPORTANT TO SEE ALL THESE
PEOPLE AND TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE
RESPECTED FOR ALL THAT YOU'VE
DONE.
>> THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE THAT
ARE HERE THAT BELIEVE IN WHAT
THEY DID, AND WE APPRECIATE WHAT
THEY DID FOR US.
>> I SPOKE TO QUITE A FEW OF THE
VETERANS THAT CAME HERE TO SEE
IT, AND IT TOUCHED EVERYONE.
IT MAY BE 50 YEARS LATE, BUT
IT'S STILL A WELCOME HOME,
FINALLY.
>>> A SOMBER STATISTIC.
ACCORDING TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT
OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, EVERY DAY
ABOUT 20 VETERANS DIE BY
SUICIDE.
A TRAGIC SITUATION.
HOWEVER, ONE ORGANIZATION IS
TAKING A BIG STEP TO COMBAT THIS
EPIDEMIC.
THE INDEPENDENT FUND IS STRIVING
TO EMPOWER VETERANS TO OVERCOME
PHYSICAL, MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL
WOUNDS AS A RESULT OF THEIR TOUR
OF DUTY.
BY TEAMING WITH THE DEPARTMENT
OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, THE FUND
HAS LAUNCHED ED OPERATION
RESILIENCY, A PROGRAM WITH
PROMISE FOR THOSE WHO CAME HOME
SUFFERING FROM PTSD AND MENTAL
ILLNESS.
HERE WITH DETAILS ARE TWO
SOLDIERS WHO JUST COMPLETED THE
OPERATION RESILIENCY PROGRAM.
VETERAN ARMY STAFF SERGEANT AL
ALEX JAUREGUI AND MAJOR ADAM
ARMSTRONG, BOTH PARATROOPERS
WITH BRAVO COMPANY.
THEY JOIN ME NOW.
GENTLEMEN, WELCOME TO THE
PROGRAM.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.
>> ABSOLUTELY.
>> WHAT IS OPERATION RESILIENCY?
>> SO OPERATION RESILIENCY, AS
YOU STATED, A JOINT VENTURE
BETWEEN THE INDEPENDENCE FUND
AND THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS
AFFAIRS.
AND WHAT IT FOCUSES ON FOR
CONTEXT, AS WE CAME OUT, FOR
EXAMPLE, DEPLOYED IN '09-'10 TO
AFGHANISTAN WITH A PRETTY ROUGH
TIME IN TERMS OF FIGHTING AND
COMBAT CASUALTIES.
THEN THE UNIT REDEPLOYS AND
EVENTUALLY EVERYBODY GOES SORT
OF DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS.
MAYBE SOME GET OUT.
MAYBE SOME GO TO OTHER UNIT, AND
A SMALL AMOUNT STAY IN THAT
UNIT.
SO THE PARATROOPERS ARE REALLY
DON'T HAVE A WHOLE LOT OF TIME
TO REFLECT UPON WHAT EXPERIENCES
THEY JUST HAD AND THE REASONS
FOR WHY THEY HAD THEM.
THEY GO ON WITH THEIR LIVES.
THIS IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY, WE
THINK, POWERFUL THROUGH THE
HUMAN CONNECTION, THE BONDS THAT
THEY SHARED BACK THEN, A CHANCE
TO REVISIT THAT, REFLECT ON IT,
PERHAPS UNDERSTAND IT A LITTLE
BIT BETTER.
AND THEN DEAL WITH OTHER THINGS
THAT THEY'VE BEEN DEALING WITHER
IN THEIR LIVES FOR THE LAST NINE
YEARS.
SO WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT IT.
>> WELL, ALEX, WHAT WAS YOUR
EXPERIENCE LIKE WITH OPERATION
RESILIENCY?
>> THE FIRST DAY THAT WE DID IT
WAS AMAZING TO WATCH THE GUYS
HOW AT THE VERY BEGINNING, THEY
WERE VERY RESERVED AND CLOSED.
AND THE MINUTE SOMEBODY BROKE
THE ICE AND HEY, MAN, I'VE BEEN
STRUGGLING, IT KIND OF OPENED
THE DOOR, AND EVERYBODY STARTED
OPENING UP AND TALKING ABOUT HOW
THEY'VE BEEN STRUGGLING.
I THINK IT MADE THEM REALIZE
YOU'RE NOT WEAK FOR ADMITTING
THAT YOU'VE HAD SOME HARD TIMES.
AND THE OTHER PART THAT I THINK
IS VERY IMPORTANT IS AS A
WOUNDED VETERAN WITH VISIBLE
WOUNDS, WE ARE VERY FORTUNATE TO
GET A LOT OF SUPPORT FROM THE
COMMUNITY, BUT THE GUYS THAT ARE
COMING HOME WITHOUT VISIBLE
WOUNDS, THEY GET OUT AND THEY
ARE KIND OF LOSING THEIR
IDENTITY, IF YOU WILL.
SO THEY DON'T GET THE THANK YOUS
AND THE HUGS BECAUSE THEY CAN'T
IDENTIFY THEM.
AND THEY WENT THROUGH JUST AS
MUCH STUFF.
SOME OF MY FRIENDS HAVE BEEN
THROUGH MORE STUFF.
IT'S REALLY AN AMAZING
ORGANIZATION THAT IS ALSO
FOCUSING ON THE WOUNDED AS WELL
AS THE NONVISIBLE WOUNDED.
>> AND IS THAT REALLY THE
IMPORTANCE OF THIS
ORGANIZATION'S EXPERIENCE TO
BREAK DOWN THOSE WALLS OF
PERHAPS ISOLATION THAT PEOPLE
MIGHT FEEL?
>> THAT'S ABSOLUTELY CORRECT,
MA'AM.
SO IT GETS DOWN TO SHARED VERSUS
SAME EXPERIENCE.
SO THERE IS VETERANS ALL OVER
THE COUNTRY.
HIGH CASUALTY RATES ARE NOT
UNIQUE, BUT THE ONLY ONES, OR
THE ONLY UNIT THAT THESE GUYS
EXPERIENCED THIS ONE WITH WERE
THE FOLKS THAT WERE IN THAT
UNIT.
SO THAT IS THE UNIQUE PART OF
THIS PROGRAM IS THAT IT BRINGS
TOGETHER THAT COMPANY WHERE THEY
FORM THOSE EXTREMELY STRONG
BONDS IN COMBAT, AND NOW MAYBE
THAT ALLOWS THEM TO BE A LITTLE
BIT MORE VULNERABLE BECAUSE THE
TRUST ISN'T THERE.
THE HUMAN CONNECTION ISN'T THERE
FROM WHAT THEY'VE ALREADY
SHARED.
THE TEAM GOT THEM THROUGH IN THE
DEPLOYMENT.
NOW THE TEAM CAN HELP TO GET US
THROUGH FOR THE REST OF OUR
LIVES.
>> NOW THIS FEELS INCREDIBLY
REVOLUTIONARY OF AN IDEA, EVEN
THOUGH IT NECESSARILY SHOULDN'T
BE.
AND I'M KIND OF WONDERING IF
THERE WAS ANY PREVIOUS PROGRAMS
THAT WERE DRAWN ON TO CREATE
SOMETHING LIKE THIS, OR IS THIS
BRAND, BRAND-NEW?
>> WELL, I DON'T REALLY KNOW IF
THOSE PROGRAMS EXISTED.
THIS ONE CAME ABOUT BECAUSE OUR
GUYS WERE AT A FUNERAL FOR ONE
OF THE TWO SUICIDES THAT HAVE
HAPPENED SINCE, AND WHEN THEY
SAID HEY, WHEN IS THE NEXT TIME
WE'LL SEE EACH OTHER, THERE WAS
KIND OF A SOMBER MOMENT AND A
REALIZATION THAT THAT MIGHT BE
THE NEXT FUNERAL.
AND SO SARAH VERARDO, THE CEO OF
THE INDY FUND WAS AT THAT
FUNERAL AS WELL.
HER HUSBAND WAS AN MPT IN OUR
COMPANY.
THAT'S THE IDEA THAT GREW UP TO
BE PARTNERED WITH THE V.A. TO
HAVE SUCH A MEANINGFUL
EXPERIENCE FOR THESE GUYS, AND
HOPEFULLY FOR MANY, MANY
ORGANIZATIONS AFTER OURS.
>> ALEX, WHEN IT COMES TO, AS
YOU WERE SAYING, THE PEOPLE WHO
HAVE VISIBLE WOUNDS AND PEOPLE
WHO DON'T HAVE VISIBLE WOUNDS,
OR INVISIBLE WOUNDS, WHAT IS IT
THAT YOU FIND WAS ONE OF THE
MORE HEALING EXPERIENCES OF
BEING ABLE TO SHARE WITH PEOPLE
WHO DIDN'T HAVE THE VISIBLE
WOUNDS, BUT ABLE THE STILL
CONNECT WITH THEM AND SAY I
STILL UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE
GOING THROUGH, EVEN THOUGH THE
PUBLIC ISN'T OBVIOUSLY SEEING
IT?
>> LIKE I SAID, THE ONES WITH
VISIBLE WOUNDS, WE'RE LUCKY TO
HAVE THE COMMUNITY.
WE HAVE A LOT OF SUPPORT BY THE
COMMUNITY, WHICH MAKES A HUGE
DIFFERENCE IN THE HEALING.
BUT YOU STILL GET TO A POINT
WHERE YOU ISOLATE YOURSELF AND
YOU START FACING YOUR INNER
DEMONS AND STUFF.
FOR ME TO BE ABLE TO OPEN UP TO
MY BROTHERS I SERVED WITH AND
TELL THEM LOOK, MAN, I WITH US
IN A REALLY TOUGH SPOT, AND I
DIDN'T CALL YOU GUYS.
SO WE NEED TO GET BETTER AT THAT
I THOUGHT WAS VERY REWARDING FOR
ME, BECAUSE A LOT OF GUYS WE
FOUND OUT THAT WERE IN SIMILAR
SITUATIONS THAT ARE NOW SEEKING
HELP FROM IT.
>> IS THIS THE KIND OF
ORGANIZATION WHERE A LOT OF
TIMES PEOPLE SAY WHEN SOMEONE IS
IN CRISIS THAT REALLY THE ONLY
PERSON WHO CAN REALLY HELP THEM
IS THEM?
IS THIS SOMETHING WHERE FAMILIES
CAN REACH OUT AND SAY WE HAVE A
RETURNING OF A VETERAN WHO HAS
RETURNED AND THEY'RE STRUGGLING,
OR IS IT SOMETHING WHERE THAT
VETERAN NEEDS TO TAKE THAT FIRST
STEP AND SAY I WANT TO
RECONNECT.
I NEED THIS CONNECTION AGAIN?
>> YES, MA'AM.
SO THE FOCUS OF THIS IS
HARNESSING THE POWER OF THE BOND
OF THAT SMALL UNIT TO ASSIST THE
INDIVIDUAL AND THE COLLECTIVE IN
GETTING THROUGH AND COPING WITH
THOSE TOUGH TIMES.
SO IF A UNIT WOULD LIKE TO BE A
PART OF THIS, A WAY THAT THAT
COULD HAPPEN IS BY THE COMMAND
TEAM OR SOMEBODY FROM THE UNIT
CONTACTING THE INDEPENDENCE FUND
THROUGH THE INDEPENDENCEFUND.ORG
OR THE V.A. TO SUBMIT A
NOMINATION FOR THEIR SMALL UNIT,
AND THAT WILL BE LOOKED AT AND
BASED OFF OF THE QUALIFICATIONS
OF THAT KIND OF STRESS THAT THEY
HOPEFULLY WILL BE AFFORDED THE
SAME OPPORTUNITY.
>> ALL RIGHT.
AND ALEX, JUST WONDERING FOR
YOURSELF, IS THERE ANYTHING THAT
YOU WOULD SAY I GUESS ON A
POSITIVE NOTE THAT HAS
DEFINITELY CHANGED FOR YOU ONCE
YOU'VE BEEN ABLE TO REESTABLISH
THESE CONNECTIONS?
>> JUST SEEING ALL THESE GUYS.
THEY SAY THE BEST THERAPY IS
LAUGH, AND WE LAUGH SO MUCH OVER
THE WEEKEND THAT WE CRIED AT
SOME POINTS FROM LAUGHING SO
HARD.
I THINK EVERYBODY AGAIN
REALIZING THAT THEY WEREN'T
GOING THROUGH ALL THIS STUFF
ALONE AND THEY WEREN'T WEAK FOR
HAVING THE EMOTIONS THEY'RE
GOING THROUGH.
THE POSITIVE IS THAT EVERYBODY
OPENED UP AND REALIZED THAT IT'S
OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY.
>> AND IS THIS SOMETHING THAT
WILL BE SERVING ALL BRANCHS
TELEPHONE MILITARY?
>> YES, ABSOLUTELY.
>> ALL RIGHT, WILL LISTEN, ALEX
AND ADAM, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR
JOINING US.
THANK YOU FOR SHARING NOT ONLY
YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH US, BUT
DEFINITELY WITHIN YOUR UNIT AND
MAKING SURE THAT OTHER UNITS
HAVE THAT ABILITY TO RECONNECT
WITH EACH OTHER.
>> THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
>> THANK YOU.
>> THANK YOU.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON
OPERATION RESILIENCY, YOU CAN
VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT
METROFOCUS.ORG.
>>> BUILDING A BOND WITH HIM, HE
STARTED DOING STUFF FOR ME THAT
HE WASN'T EVEN TRAINED FOR.
NOT TOO LONG AGO, I WITH US IN
THERAPY, AND WE WERE TALKING
ABOUT SOMETHING PRETTY INTENSE.
I GOT VERY PANICKY.
HE GOT UP OFF THE FLOOR AND
LITERALLY CLIMBED UP ON TOP OF
ME, PUT HIS WEIGHT ON ME AND
STARTED LICKING MY FACE.
AND MY THERAPIST STARTED
LAUGHING ABOUT IT.
I WENT FROM ALMOST HAVING A
PANIC ATTACK TO LAUGHING BECAUSE
MY DOG IS LICKING MY FACE.
>> AN ORGANIZATION THAT PLACES
RESCUED ANIMALS WITH VETERANS.
THIS FACILITY IS DESIGNED TO BE
THEIR SECOND HOME.
>> I AM A SPOUSE.
MY FIANCE IS IN THE ARMY.
WE HAVE A 5-YEAR-OLD TOGETHER.
SO I HAD TO DO A DOG WITH
MILITARY STYLE WHILE HE WAS
AWAY.
IN THE MEANTIME, I KIND OF
STARTED DOING THIS, TO HELP WITH
ME, TO HELP WITH MY FAMILY.
WE'RE A BIG SUPPORT NETWORK
HERE.
WE ALL WORK HAND IN HAND.
>> WE STARTED FIVE YEARS AGO,
PLACING DOGS.
AND WE ARE PROUD OF THE
PLACEMENTS.
WE ARE PROUD OF THE LETTERS AND
EMAILS AND TEXTS THAT WE GET
TALKING ABOUT, HEY, JUST WANT
THE SAY HELLO, AND TODAY IS
ANOTHER DAY THAT I'M ALIVE, AND
I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR THIS DOG
AND YOU GUYS.
>> WE'RE GOING TO DO TREATS THE
SAME WAY EVERY TIME.
EVENTUALLY TREAT GOES AWAY.
WE'RE GOING TO PUT THAT RIGHT TO
HIS NOSE, AND I'M GOING TO LEAD
HIM RIGHT TO MY TOES.
>> WHEN THE GUYS COME HOME, YOU
EXPECT THE WORLD FROM THEM
BECAUSE THEY EXPECT HOME, RIGHT?
THEY SHOULD BE THE SAME.
NINE OUT OF TEN TIMES THEY'RE
NOT.
THEY'VE BEEN THROUGH A TRAUMATIC
EVENT.
>> RAISE IT UP.
SIT.
>> SO I WANTED TO BECOME A
MILITARY POLICE OFFICER.
I HAD TO BE 19.
I WASN'T.
I WAS 17.
SO I TOOK THE NEXT BEST THING.
I JOINED THE MARINE CORPS
SECURITY FORCE.
THAT'S A SECONDARY JOB.
YOU TO CHOOSE A PRIMARY JOB.
SO MY PRIMARY JOB WAS INFANTRY.
WHEN I FIRST GOT OUT, THINGS
WERE A LITTLE WEIRD FOR ME.
THE SYMPTOMS I HAD ASSOCIATED
WITH PTSD WERE NOT REALLY MAJOR
AT THE TIME.
IT KIND OF GREW.
LITTLE THINGS GREW FROM SEEDS
AND IT GOT BIGGER AND BIGGER AND
BIGGER AND WORSE AND WORSE.
SO I STARTED DOING THINGS TO TRY
TO COPE WITH IT.
DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT WAS PTSD.
DIDN'T RECOGNIZE IT.
I THOUGHT MAN, IT'S JUST ME.
I'M SCREWED UP.
AND I'D HAVE A NIGHTMARE AND
THEN I WOULD BE AFRAID TO GO
BACK TO SLEEP.
SO I WOULDN'T GO TO SLEEP FOR
TWO DAYS.
I DIDN'T WANT PEOPLE TO SEE ME
LIKE THAT.
SO I'D ISOLATE.
I'D STAY HOME FOR TWO OR THREE
DAYS UNTIL IT PASSED.
I STARTED TAKING PAIN MEDICATION
PRESCRIBE BESIDE MY DOCTOR.
I FOLLOWED THE PRESCRIPTION THAT
I WAS SUPPOSED TO DO.
AFTER TIME, I STARTED TAKING IT
NOT BECAUSE I WAS IN PAIN, BUT
BECAUSE IT MADE ME FEEL BETTER.
I STARTED TAKING IT MORE AND
MORE.
I HAD A FEW NIGHTS LOOKING IN
THE MIRROR, I CAN'T LIVE MY LIFE
LIKE THIS.
SOMETHING IS WRONG.
ONCE I STARTED WORKING WITH THE
V.A. AND MEETING OTHER PEOPLE IN
GROUPS AND THERAPY IN PROGRAMS,
I MET OTHER PEOPLE WHO WERE
DEALING WITH THE SAME STUFF I
WAS, I DIDN'T FEEL SO ALONE
ANYMORE.
I FELT HERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO
DO GET ME.
>> THE FIRST PLANE HIT THE
TOWER.
THEN WHEN THE SECOND PLANE HIT,
THAT'S WHEN MY NATIONAL GUARD
UNIT WAS DEPLOYED.
AND WE WERE SHIPPED OUT ON BUSES
TO THE OUTSKIRTS OF GROUND ZERO.
AS WE WALKED CLOSER AND CLOSER
TO THE PILE, IT WAS BURNING.
IT SMELLED REALLY BAD.
PEOPLE WERE SEARCHING IN THE
PILE FOR BODY PARTS.
IF WE HAPPENED TO FIND ANY
REMAINS, THEN WE WOULD HAVE TO
BRING THE PARTS TO THE MORGUE.
I STARTED DRINKING A LOT AT THAT
POINT AND USING ILLEGAL DRUGS.
AND IT WAS ALL TO NUMB ALL THE
THINGS THAT I WITNESSED.
I STARTED REALIZING IT AS THE
PROBLEMS WERE GETTING WORSE.
MY IRRITABILITY WAS GETTING
WORSE.
I STARTED GETTING PARANOID, AND
WHEN I GOT TO THAT POINT, THAT'S
WHEN I WENT TO THE V.A. HOSPITAL
IN EAST NORTH PORT AND I GOT
HELP.
>> GREAT JOB.
GOOD JOB.
>> JAMES IS AN AMAZING
INDIVIDUAL.
HE'S THE FIRST TO VOLUNTEER FOR
ANY SERVICES.
HE IS THE FIRST TO HELP OUT.
HE IS THE FIRST TO BUILD
SOMETHING.
HE IS THE FIRST TO COLLECT DOG
FOOD AND BRING IT US TO.
HE'S ALWAYS BEEN ACTIVE IN HIS
COMMUNITY.
>> GUARDIAN'S A RESCUE, RESCUED
11 PUPPIES FROM LOUISIANA AND
DONATED TO PAWS FOR VETERANS.
THEY WERE IN A HURRICANE, AND IN
LOUISIANA, THEY WERE GOING TO
EUTHANIZE ALL 11 OF THEM.
STARTING OUT WITH HIM, IT'S
STARTING OUT WITH, LIKE, A NEW
CHILD, BUT IT'S A PUPPY, AND NOW
YOU HAVE TO MOLD IT.
>> I MET SOMEONE NAMED TODD WHO
WAS A MEMBER OF PAWS OF WAR AND
WHO HAD A SERVICE DOG.
ONCE I MET TODD AND SAW HOW MUCH
A SERVICE DOG WAS GIVING HIM, I
THOUGHT WOW, MAYBE A SERVICE DOG
OBE GOOD.
HIS DOG HELPED ME SO MUCH
BECAUSE IT'S A FULLY TRAINED
SERVICE DOG THAT I WAS LOOKING
AFTER AND TAKING WITH ME
EVERYWHERE.
IT WAS FANTASTIC.
AND I STARTED SMILING AGAIN AND
I STARTED LAUGHING AGAIN, AND IT
WAS PRETTY COOL.
I SAID WHAT'S THE CHANCES THAT I
CAN GET A DOG?
AND THEY SAID I THINK THE
CHANCES ARE PRETTY GOOD.
SO I PUT AN APPLICATION IN, I
WENT THROUGH THE PROCESS THAT
I'M NOW IN CHARGE OF, AND I GOT
ROCKY.
ROCKY HAS JUST EXCEEDED MY
EXPECTATIONS.
I MEAN, HE IS VERY WELL-TRAINED.
HE IS A VERY GOOD DOG.
I COULDN'T BE HAPPIER WITH
ROCKY.
>> NOW HARRY IS PART OF MY
CLASS, AND HE IS GOING FOR THE
REST OF THE BADGES FOR ROCKY.
AND WE'RE TAKING HIM THROUGH ALL
THE LEVELS, AND THEY'RE VERY
GOOD STUDENTS.
EVERY CLASS IS AT LEAST FOUR TO
SIX DOGS, IF NOT MORE.
OTHER GUYS SAY THEIR WORK
SCHEDULE IS TOO HECTIC, WE CAN
BRING THE VETERINARIAN TO THE
SERVICE DOG WE NEED.
IF ANYONE NEEDS HELP WITH DRUGS
OR SUBSTANCE ABUSE ISSUES, WE DO
HAVE A LIAISON THAT CAN DIRECT
THEM IN THE RIGHT FACILITY TO
GET THEM IN THE DIRECTION THEY
NEED SO WE CAN GET THE SERVICE
AROUND IT AS WELL.
>> YOU WANT ME TO WORK WITH
ROCKY FOR A SECOND?
TAKE A BREAK?
>> SERVICE DOG IS AN EXTENSION
OF YOUR ARM.
SERVICE DOG MEANS THAT THE
SERVICE DOG HAS A JOB TO DO AND
MUST BE ATTACHED TO SAID SERVICE
PERSONS.
>> HE'S JUST THERE.
EVEN IF I'M DREAMING AT NIGHT
AND I'M SWEATING AND STUFF,
HE'LL COME OVER TO ME, HE'LL
POUNCE ON ME, HE'LL LICK MY
FACE.
HE'LL WAKE ME UP FROM MY DREAM.
HE GOES TO SCHOOL WITH ME.
HE IS TRAINED TO LAY DOWN OR
SIT.
I TELL HIM THE COMMANDS,
DEPENDING ON WHAT'S GOING ON IN
THE CLASSROOM, AND HE STAYS
THERE.
HE DOESN'T CARRY NOTES OR BOOKS.
>> MOST OF THESE DOGS IN THE
BEGINNING, ONCE WE TRAIN THAT
CONNECTION THEY START TO
TRIGGER.
AND I START TO SHOW THE GUYS
WHEN THEIR DOG IS TRIGGERING
THAT.
YOU'LL SEE IT.
VERY EARLY STAGES OF TRAINING,
IF WE HAVE THE RIGHT FIT.
>> ROCKY, SIT.
GOOD BOY.
>> I PICKED HIM UP.
I DIDN'T TOUCH ANY OTHER PUPPY.
I WANT HIM.
I KNEW HE WAS THE ONE FOR ME.
HE WAS NICE AND CALM.
HE WAS CONSOLING ME RIGHT AWAY.
HE IS JUST NESTLED UP TO ME, AND
HE DIDN'T WANT TO GET OFF MY
LAP.
YOU KNOW?
AND EVEN NOW STILL, HE FOLLOWS
ME EVERYWHERE.
>> FREE TIME?
OKAY.
BE FREE!
LEAVE IT.
>> WHEN THE VEST IS OFF, THE DOG
CAN BE A NORMAL DOG.
>> ROCKY!
>> WHEN THE VEST IS ON, THE DOG
IS IN WORKING MODE.
SO THE DOG DOES KNOW THE
DIFFERENCE OF WHEN HE NEEDS TO
BE DOING HIS JOB AND WHEN IT'S
OFF THE CLOCK TIME.
>> WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THE
VETERANS ARE INTERESTED IN AN
ORGANIZATION THAT A DOG REALLY
WILL BE A GOOD FIT, AND THAT
THEY ARE RECEIVING CARE ALREADY.
IF A VETERAN COMES TO US AND
THEY HAVE PTSD AND IT'S NEVER
BEEN DIAGNOSED, THEY'RE NOT
GETTING OUTSIDE HELP FOR IT,
THEN THAT'S WHERE OUR PEER
SPECIALIST WILL COME IN AND
POINT THEM IN THE RIGHT
DIRECTION, SAY LISTEN, THIS IS
REALLY WHAT YOU MIGHT NEED.
>> GOOD BOY.
>> US HERE AT PAWS OF WAR, WE'RE
JUST OTHER VETERANS THAT HAVE
BEEN THROUGH THIS.
>> EVERYONE IS AFFECTED A
DIFFERENT WAY.
THE FACT THAT THEY ARE THIS
HONORABLE UNIFORM, SOMETIMES
IT'S VERY HARD FOR THEM TO
ACCEPT THAT THAT IS WHO THEY ARE
NOW.
AND THAT'S THE BIGGEST HURDLE
THAT A LOT OF THESE GUYS GO
THROUGH.
WITH THE DOG, ANOTHER
THERAPEUTIC HAND IN THAT, IT
HELPS THEM MORE EASILY
TRANSITION AND ACCEPT WHAT
THEY'RE GOING THROUGH, AND BE
ABLE TO PROCEED FORWARD AND LIVE
A MORE FULFILLED LIFE.
>> WELL, YOU ALWAYS HAVE A
FRIEND.
YOU'LL NEVER BE LONELY.
YOU ALWAYS HAVE SOMEONE THE TALK
TO.
THEY MIGHT NOT TALK BACK.
BUT THEY'RE THERE FOR YOU, WHEN
YOU'RE HAVING THOSE HARD MOMENTS
OR THOSE DOWN TIMES.
YOU'LL ALWAYS HAVE A FRIEND WITH
YOU.
>> A SERVICE FOR US, THIS IS OUR
SERVICE FOR YOU, AND WE ARE VERY
GRATEFUL FOR IT.
SO THIS IS OUR GIFT BACK TO
THOSE WHO HAVE DONE A GIFT
BIGGER THAN WE COULD EVER ASK
FOR.
§

§
§
>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE
BY
JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH,
SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III,
THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA
PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT
ANTI-SEMITISM.
BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ,
BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG,
AND BY --

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

WNET

© WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019