June is PTSD Awareness Month – See How Service Members with PTSD Thrive in Recovery through Team Semper Fi and Other Programs
May 26, 2016 (Camp Pendleton, CA) – As the country acknowledges PTSD Awareness Month, the Semper Fi Fund is proud to be helping service members cope with post-traumatic stress through a variety of innovative programs. Among the most notable efforts is Team Semper Fi.
Made up of more than 1,500 service members who qualify for assistance and who have overcome significant challenges in service to our country, Team Semper Fi is the heart and inspiration of the Semper Fi Fund's Peter Murphy Semper Fi Fund Sports Program.
“We provide our team members with coaches, specialized sporting equipment, entry fees and travel expenses to athletic events,” says Karen Guenther, President, Executive Director and Founder of the Semper Fi Fund. “Team members are also given the opportunity to receive high-level training from former and current Olympic and Paralympic athletes through a partnership with the U.S. Paralympics.”
“The Semper Fi Fund and Team Semper Fi developed a great strength inside of me,” says Navy hospital corpsman Derek McGinnis, who lost a leg in an encounter with a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004. “In effect they said to me, ‘I got your 6, I believe in you, and here's the opportunity to showcase it.’ They gave me the opportunity to build my own narrative. Team Semper Fi planted that seed for me to move forward.”
“PTSD is often called the invisible injury, but it can be as debilitating as the worst physical injury you can imagine,” says Semper Fi Fund Medical Director Dr. Robert Koffman. “Many of the programs for our post-9/11 service members and their families directly address the issues raised by PTSD. Some of these, in addition to Team Semper Fi, include our Unit Reunion Program, our Semper Fi Fund Apprenticeship Program, our Therapeutic Arts Program and the Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program.”
“When I got back up on a horse, I never felt more normal,” says Gunnery Sergeant Tomas McRae, who lost both legs and one arm as the result of stepping on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2012. “When I'm on a horse the anxiety just goes away, which is so satisfying. When you talk about PTSD, it's nice to have something that 'fixes' it." The "fix" for Gunnery Sergeant McRae is participating in the Semper Fi Fund's Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program.
“We owe such a debt to those who serve on behalf of us all,” Guenther says. “I hope all Americans take some time this month to learn a little more about PTSD and how it affects our service members.”
Additional information about PTSD – and ways to support Semper fi Fund programs that address PTSD – can be found on the Semper Fi Fund website HERE.
About the Semper Fi Fund
The Semper Fi Fund (semperfifund.org), one of the leading veteran nonprofits in the U.S., provides immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to wounded, critically ill and injured post-9/11 service members and their families. Founded in 2004, the Fund originally focused on Marines, Sailors and their families, and has since expanded to provide assistance to all branches of the military. To date more than 16,200 service members and their families have benefited directly from more than $126 million in assistance from the Semper Fi Fund--one of only three veteran charities to receive an A+ rating from Charity Watch and a four-star rating from Charity Navigator.
For press information and to arrange interviews with Dr. Robert Koffman (Medical Director for the Semper Fi Fund and a former Navy officer contact: Barbara Pflughaupt at 212-707-8181.