Veterans Freedom Retreat helps veterans, partners overcome post-traumatic stress

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Many military veterans seek help for their post-traumatic stress, but the Veterans Freedom Retreat brings their partners along to assist them on their journey.

These couples come to the Coyote Ranch Resort every year for some TLC on their mind, body and spirit.

The retreat is hosted every year for veteran couples for seven and a half days, and without any cost, these couples get to grow together.

The Veterans Freedom Retreat is in its 7th installment in Wichita Falls.

With the help of Patterson Auto Group owner Harry Patterson, the National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center in Angel Fire, NM, and many volunteers, couples leave the retreat with a new outlook on life.

Markus Podell, program director for the National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center, gives the main goal for the retreat.

“What we call ‘repurposing the warrior’,” Podell said. “We all have these great attributes and these gifts and now we’re not using them the same way that we were in the military. Part of our responsibility is to find out what those gifts are and how we can give them away to others because when we do that it adds value to us.”

Podell has spoken at over 20 retreats and said teaching couples helps him work through his own problems as well.

The Jaramillos are just one of those couples. They have been through this retreat and have reaped all of the benefits because they were willing to put the work in.

“The tools that they give me here, to be able to go back home and use those and work on my post-traumatic stress, it’s really been good for me,” Army veteran and couple sponsor Steven Jaramillo said. “Really been good and I would recommend it to anybody,”

“So this is the first one we’ve done together that’s not just only helped us it’s helped us with our children. Being able to talk about taking some of the tools home and being able to share. Find out their feelings about how they felt about everything that was happening in the household that we never ever talked about for, I mean since he was wounded almost 30 years ago,” Steven’s wife, Linda, said.

The retreat is not all group therapy and education sessions either. The couples receive physical amenities such as massage therapy, yoga, energy training and horse riding.

“Basically from the time, 8 in the morning to when they’re done with breakfast ’til 9 o’clock at night when they release them, every activity that we do is interlinking on them building the ‘new me’,” Podell said.

For people with a spouse or loved one that is struggling with post-traumatic stress, the Jaramillos have a word of advice.

“If you’re in the military still active duty, is to be there for your spouse. Try to get in as many programs as you can. And when you get in a program, go home and use the tools. Because I think nothing’s gonna work until you start using the tools,” said Linda Jaramillo.

The retreat ends Sunday, but board members are working towards another retreat that may be held around July. Nothing is official yet but click here to check the Veterans Freedom Retreat website.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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