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ptsd clinic

February 10, 2018 - 6:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in hlom, ptsd clinic, VA, news, batavia.

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A group of veterans being treated at the PTSD clinic in Batavia got a special Valentine this afternoon at the Holland Land Office Museum.

Students participating in a history class there presented each of the veterans with a patriotic Valentine's Day card that they made themselves.

Anne Marie Starowitz also presented a $250 check to the veterans, a donation to the clinic or however they want to use it. She said they could throw a party for themselves if that's what they wanted to do with the money.

The money comes from the sale of her book, “Back in the Day, Snapshots of Local History, the Way I See It!”

Starowitz said she was inspired to make the donation and support the veterans after a group from the PTSD clinic in Batavia visited the museum and she felt so moved to meet them and learn something about them.

Several of their veterans expressed their gratitude, including ones who said the gesture was so meaningful because they are currently separated from their own children while undergoing treatment and they miss their kids.

"One of the symptoms I deal with is kind of numbing everything out, but this really cracked through the ice," said one veteran. "This is special."

Carl, who served two terms in Iraq, said the cards meant a lot to him but wanted to remind the children that the word "hero" has a special meaning.

"To us, hero means the people who didn't come home," Carl said. "That's something that we hold dear to our hearts and I'm sure you do, too, but on the other hand, it's people like you guys who are willing to do this and support us and happy to do it that make it easy for us to go over there and fight."

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August 22, 2017 - 10:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in ptsd clinic, crossroads house, batavia, news.

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The 1776 Volunteer Riders presented checks yesterday of funds raised at a June 3 ride to the PTSD Clinic at the VA Hospital and Crossroads House. Each agency received $1,600.

Photo and submitted by Jeff Allen.

June 15, 2017 - 4:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ptsd clinic, VA Hospital, batavia, veterans, news.

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As part of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month, the VA in Batavia hosted a speaker series today featuring three veterans who have been through the trials of PTSD and recovered.

Dr. Caryn Di Landro, head of the PTSD clinic at the Batavia VA, said the people who attended -- members of the community interested in PTSD journeys, veterans in general, veterans receiving service at the clinic and staff working with veterans with PTSD -- were there to learn more about the experiences of those who have suffered from the condition.

The three speakers were Dr. Jessica Goodell, a psychology intern at the clinic, Marine Corps veteran, and author of "Shade It Black: Death and After Iraq"; Nicholas Stefanovic, from the Rochester Treatment Court and Marine Corp veteran; and, Earl Granville, former Pennsylvania Army National Guardsman and veteran of Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia.

Granville, in photos, told his own stories and the stories of others about the journey from trauma to finding a new purpose in helping others.

This is an annual event open to all members of the community.

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May 27, 2016 - 11:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in ptsd clinic, veterans, Batavia VA, news.

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Frank Grillo submitted these photos and story about the dog run being installed at the PTSD clinic at the Batavia VA.

I know how important the small things are.

I know when your scraping and clawing and fighting to regain your life that every advantage can mean the difference between life and death. 

When I came home I never slept. I watched out the windows, I patrolled my home. I gained over 100 pounds and began to fail at school and life. What brought me back? My dog.

Reba watched out the windows. Reba listened for sounds so I didn't have to. Her hearing was better; she constantly stared out the window and when I said "Reba, Whats That?" she would barrel from window to window on high alert. 

When I arrived at the PTSD clinic I was immediately greeted like a criminal. Breathalyzers and urinalysis as well as a search of my belongings. The windows would only open four inches because someone from Texas jumped out of his window and because it was early spring the heaters were still on bringing my room to a not so comfy 90+ degrees.

The program was being run by a woman who did not know how to balance what was best for the vet against the regulations.

This was a colossal mess but I did three tours in Iraq and I could handle all the above.

I lasted less than one day.

Why?

I didn't have my dog.

Fast forward three years. I've given up on almost all of my volunteering. Too many fake programs cashing in on veterans. 

I did keep on, however, keep up with the VA Veterans Advisors Council for two reasons:

  • because my friend Patrick brought me in;
  • and because I believe in the Director Brian Stiller, who is himself a Navy veteran. 

For almost a year we brought the fight to allow service dogs into the PTSD program and thanks to a language loophole and Brian's willingness to do the right thing, to act on principal FOR the veteran in spite of the ridiculous bureaucracy, and we prevailed. 

A veteran who found it too tough to stay in the program without his service dog eventually returned to Batavia to complete the program, and to his credit he pioneered the possibility of service dogs at the residential treatment program. 

Next we asked, "What can we do to make this permanent?" and Director Stiller responded, "We need a place to let the run off vest."

Immediately I reached out to my brothers at the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Chapter 19-6 in Batavia.

We raised the funding and created the fenced-in pen you see in this picture. Yesterday, we returned to build a shelter where the combat veteran can sit in case he or she cannot stand. A place the veteran can relax out of the elements while his or her most loyal companion can run and play and unwind.

These dogs are easing the burden and saving the lives of veterans every day just as my Reba did for me. It is my privlidge and our chapter's honor to make that kind of advantage a possibility for our fellow combat veterans.

God bless America.

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April 16, 2016 - 2:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in PTSD, ptsd clinic, VA, veterans, batavia, news.

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Service dogs play a vital role in helping veterans deal with medical issues, including Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But when the dogs stay with veterans at the PTSD clinic at the VA Center in Batavia, there hasn't been a place for them to relax, play and run, which service dogs need to do when they're not working.

Until recently, veterans who entered in-patient care at the clinic weren't allowed to bring their dogs, but now that they can; there needs to be facilities to accommodate the canines.

The Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association heard about the problem and raised more than $1,400 (mostly from their own members, but the Rotary Club and Home Depot also contributed) to build a dog run behind the clinic.

Today, that fenced-in dog run was built, giving the service dogs a place of their own when they're not working.

The work was made possible through the cooperation of the CVMA, led by Frank Grillo, of Buffalo, and Brian Stiller, Medical Center director for the WNY Medical Healthcare System.

While there have been a lot of complaints nationally about the VA, Grillo noted the VA in WNY seems pretty responsive to veterans and he praised Stiller for his cooperation.

"You hear a lot of people talking a lot of bad stuff about the VA, but then you get a guy who is a veteran himself leading a portion of the VA, and it's kind of inspirational to see somebody who cares actually stepping up and helping us do what we need to do to help our fellow veterans," Grillo said.

Stiller said he could help because the current secretary of the VA has said principles should come before rules.

"We can pull this off by having somebody who has a can-do attitude and this group of veterans," Stiller said. "This is something that has happened real quick and it shows how the community can come together and do a simple, real good thing right on time. It speaks volumes for the commitment and caring that is going on."

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