The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Veterans with emotional troubles find relief in TR Campus seminar

By Kirsten Mahon/tr news editor

Student veterans, primarily those who suffer from complications related to military combat, were invited to the TR Campus Project Welcome Home Troops workshop.

Pam Brockman, a leader of the Aug. 24-27 event, said the workshop aimed to improve sleep, stop addictions and strengthen personal relationships of the participants. According to the veterans who attended, it worked.

At the beginning of the workshop, any veteran who wished to could share experiences.

“Today was my first day back at school with the kids, and it was the first day I didn’t feel stressed,” participant Mary Helen Vela said smiling. “And when I did feel stressed, I went back and did my breathing, and I felt better.”

The second part of the workshop was an agenda of breathing exercises. The veterans testified to this as the main release of their stress.

One participant said muscle spasms she had sporadically in her right arm were softened by breathing exercises she learned in the course. Other veterans agreed that the breathing helped them sleep.

“It [stress] affects you in a way you don’t see or feel,” said Gayelyn Howard, a community veteran.

Project Welcome Home Troops tries to hold a workshop every three to six months at TCC. The latest event included about 20 participants. Martin Vela, a project representative and husband of Mary Helen Vela, said the course yielded more than 70 participants last November.

“The challenge is to try to find the veterans, you know? We’re thinking ‘Where are they?’” Martin Vela said. “In this course, we ask the veterans to bring in their loved ones and spouses to help them through their process.”

The Velas also have a son in the military, and they use the course to help them cope with the stress and to help their son as well.

Veterans enrolled in the course said they noticed a change of attitude among themselves as the course progressed. Usually, the course meets about five times for three hours each. At first, veterans who had never taken the course admitted to feeling standoffish and impersonal but were eventually laughing freely and sharing their thoughts with the group.

“Usually by the third day, I see smiles,” said workshop leader Jim Warner.

The course is free for veterans to take through TCC. For more information, students can visit continuing education’s website at: www.tccd.edu/continuing_education.html

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