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Tag Archive | "PTSD"

Happy Independence Day

By Mike Womack, Cedar Springs City Manager

World War 1, The Great War, seems so very remote to us now, occurring over a 100 years ago, between 1914 and 1918. That war introduced a new type of mechanical warfare that the world had never seen before with its machine guns and mass artillery bombardments that lasted for days or weeks at a time. That war changed the world in ways that are still felt down to today.  Of the many atrocities that occurred in that war, one thing sticks out in my mind and that is the slow realization of the reality of something then called “shell shock” but now generally known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Early in the war, “shell shock” was thought to be a wimpiness or a lack of moral fiber brought on by the percussive action of artillery shells landing near soldiers.  Many combat soldiers were abused by commanding officers, put on trial and executed for “cowardice” for what we now know to be a psychiatric disorder that the American Psychiatric Association says can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, heart attack, rape or other violent personal assault.  In fact, as many as 1 in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD during their lifetimes.  Some symptoms of modern PTSD include extreme vigilance, nightmares, insomnia, intrusive thoughts, avoidance, social isolation, sadness, fear and anger.

So, what does that all have to do with Independence Day and our pursuits of life, liberty and happiness? Well, the simple answer is that fireworks can be fun but they can also be dangerous and please be mindful of your friends, family and neighbors who may not enjoy your fireworks as much as you do.  Persons who suffer from PTSD often dread the fireworks of Independence Day, which may inadvertently cause them to “relive” their traumatic event because the firework sounds like an IED, gunshot or screaming.  

So, while you are celebrating the colonial grievances against King George III,  please consider some basic fireworks safety tips such as: always have adult supervision; only use fireworks when sober; keep safe distances; keep fireworks safely away from flammable materials including dry grass; keep a bucket of water or hose readily available; never hold a lit firework or point fireworks at people or animals; and leave all roads clear so that emergency services can get through in a hurry.  

Finally, please consider using pretty fireworks but avoid loud fireworks. Combat veterans and dogs everywhere will thank you. 

Fireworks may be used in the City of Cedar Springs on a national holiday and the day before and after that holiday but not between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. on those days.

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American Legion welcomes state commanders and presidents

American Legion Auxiliary Honorary Junior President, Sabrina Townes.

American Legion Auxiliary Honorary Junior President, Sabrina Townes.

Sons of the American Legion Commander, Carvin Chapman.

Sons of the American Legion Commander, Carvin Chapman.

American Legion Auxiliary President, Ellen Jackson.

American Legion Auxiliary President, Ellen Jackson.

American Legion Commander for Michigan, Larry Money.

American Legion Commander for Michigan, Larry Money.

The American Legion Post #287 in Cedar Springs is proud to welcome the State Commanders and Presidents to our home for the annual Early Bird Dinner. The dinner is held the first week in January to show our appreciation to the members of our Post, Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion who have paid their dues by Veterans Day of the previous fall.  It is our tradition to invite the leaders of our state to attend this event. It is also our tradition to give them each a set of Red Flannels. In the past it was given to prepare them for the Upper Peninsula trip which usually follows directly after our dinner, in an attempt to keep them warm during the cold and often snowy conditions of the UP in January.

This year the American Legion Commander for the State of Michigan is Larry Money. He was elected and installed as Commander at the 2016 Annual Summer Convention held in Sault Saint Marie, Michigan, June 23-26. Larry is from Post #51 in Buchanan Michigan. He has worked tirelessly for the cause of veterans in this state, holding many offices and chairmanships along the way, including membership and Americanism. He has served as Post Commander, District Commander, and Department vice Commander. Commander Money is a U.S. Army veteran who served from 1969-1976 in the 12th Special Forces Group. He has been a member of the Buchannan Post for 38 continuous years. He and his wife Barb have three sons and three daughters. At our dinner, Commander Money will be speaking about his special project Operation Comfort Warriors and bringing updates on Legion activities this year. We welcome Larry to our Post.

The American Legion Auxiliary President for 2016-2017 is Ellen Jackson. She was also elected at the State Convention this summer. She is a member of Walter Fraser Unit #108 in Oxford, Michigan. She has held many offices and chairmanships on her way to the office of President. She has been busy this year traveling around our State visiting the many Districts and Posts. Her theme for this year is “Hats Off For Veterans”. Her special project is The Michigan Wounded and Returning Warrior Program. Ellen has been married to her husband PDC Carnie, a Viet Nam era veteran, for ten years. They have three children and four grandchildren. Welcome to Ellen and Carnie to our Post.

The Sons of the American Legion Detachment of Michigan is proud to bring Carvin Chapman to our Post as the Commander for the State of Michigan for 2016-20217. He is a member of the Chief Pontiac Post #377 Sons of the American Legion Squadron and has served there for nearly 30 years. He says that he is 100 percent for veterans and is striving for 100 percent membership this year. He has been Squadron Commander, 18th District Commander, and Zone Commander. He also serves as a VA Rep in Detroit. His Special project is Operation Comfort Warriors, a program dedicated to meeting the needs of wounded, injured or ill military personnel. He has been married to his wife Kathy for 32 years, has two sons, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren. We are looking forward to spending time with Carvin “Huey” and Kathy.

We are also proud to have with us from the Department of Michigan, American Legion Auxiliary Honorary Junior President, Sabrina Townes. She is from our own Unit and area, being a member of Glen Hill Unit #287 here in Cedar Springs since 2001.  Sabrina’s theme this year is Tinkerbell.  She and her Department Junior officers are spreading their “pixie dust” around the State bringing happiness and awareness to veterans and the American Legion Family. Honorary Junior President Sabrina’s special project this year is Stiggy’s Dogs. This is a nonprofit organization that rescues dogs from shelters and with the help of correctional facilities trains them for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). This is done at no cost to the veteran. Stiggyy’s Dogs is based in Michigan and is for Michigan veterans. We are very proud of Sabrina and the project she has chosen.

The dinner will be held Saturday night at the Post at 80 S. Main St. in Cedar Springs.

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PTSD: Not Just a Veteran’s Illness

HEA-PTSD-despairBy Mary Kuhlman, The Michigan News Connection

LANSING, Mich. Almost 25 million people in the United States are living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, according to the support group PTSD United. That includes thousands of Michiganders who have suffered a traumatic event, from crimes or natural disasters to events surrounding military service.

The diagnosis is only part of seeking help, said Dr. Matthew Friedman, senior adviser at the Veterans Administration’s National Center for PTSD.

“On the one hand, there are resilient people who meet the full diagnostic criteria for PTSD, but they can cope with the symptoms,” he said. “Then, there are other people for whom PTSD is completely debilitating.”

Friedman said treatment has advanced to include cognitive behavior therapy and medication that can help people work through their illness. While it’s normal to experience stress after a traumatic event, Friedman said you should seek professional help if it lasts longer than three months, disrupts home or work life, or you find yourself reliving the event frequently and experiencing flashbacks.

“We really want people to recognize that they’ve got PTSD and, if they’re not sure, they should see a professional who can help them sort that out—and if they do, then we have treatments that work,” he said. “People who think they have PTSD, or their loved one has PTSD, should seek treatment.”

The annual cost of anxiety disorders to society is estimated to be significantly more than $42 billion, often due to misdiagnosis and undertreatment. This includes the costs of psychiatric and nonpsychiatric medical treatment and prescription drugs, plus indirect workplace costs and mortality costs.

More information is online at ptsd.va.gov.

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