The longest journey many of our soldiers face is not the plane ride home from distant battle fields, but rather the struggle they face upon returning. The statistics are staggering regarding the numbers of service men and women suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), many of whom are unaware of or unable to access the resources and support they need. Mental health issues related to service (and specifically, though not exclusively, service in war), can be severe. Coping tactics such as substance and alcohol abuse, gambling and money issues are devastating families and disintegrating relationships. Many honorable men and women, fearing all hope is lost, are making desperate, unhealthy and sometimes life ending choices.
Thankfully, as awareness has increased about high suicide rates and destructive behaviors, some very good programs have been developed, but, undeniably, more help is needed. The VA hospitals alone cannot aid our soldiers to the extent required. The funds raised by Race for a Soldier and the focused attention on the cause will benefit and offer hope to soldiers who are otherwise falling through the cracks.
"Race For A Soldier" created a new meaning for PTSD: "Permission To Start Dreaming." We want this phrase to be planted on all soldiers' hearts and minds when they return. Our mission is to raise awareness and funds to support programs that enrich the lives of soldiers and their families in a tangible way. We believe that encouraging strong relationships between our returning soldiers and their communities will go a long way towards easing feelings of isolation and paranoia. Programs which help these brave men and women heal emotional wounds and create a new life are indisputably beneficial to the community in general. We are excited that Gig Harbor has a chance to show that we care about our soldiers and their futures.
This Race For A Soldier event is becoming a leader in the movement to changing the culture of how we view our soldiers and our responsibilities to them.