Throughout my career, I’ve had veterans walk into my office seeking help and healing – sometimes proactively and at times, reluctantly. In 2008, I was offered the opportunity to work with active duty service members through contract work. Over the next 5 years, I was embedded in combat and Medevac units gaining the most significant and powerful education of my career. Coupling this with being the daughter of a WWII veteran who, in retrospect, I realize did bring war home and being married to a US Army veteran, my convictions to serving those who serve our country grew deeper.
The Dustoff Project was created with several goals in mind. First, as a mental health provider, I recognize the need to manage my own secondary trauma (the effect of being exposed to others’ traumatic stories). It is the responsible action to take in order to maintain a professional, mindful presence with my clients. I must perform my own “dustoff” in order to effectively rejoin the mission of serving others. Secondly, as an honor to the courageous men and women who humbled me with their stories and trust, I am compelled to try and educate others on the challenges facing our military community.