Vietnam Veterans Offer Mind-Easing Program for West Texas Veterans

by Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - For soldiers returning home from the front lines, they may come to find the battle continuing on the home front. They may feel isolated from the rest of society or shaken by the events they've seen.

Studies show many of them suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, losing sleep or feeling on-edge or depressed.

Steve Cree and Bob Lothringer of Midland say that's natural, they're both Vietnam veterans.

"When they were in a combat zone, you know that the guy on the left and the guy on the right, you can trust them with your life, because they're doing the same with you," Lothringer said. "When they come back here to the civilian world, they don't have that same feeling."

So they started a chapter of Battle Mind Recovery in the Basin last summer.

They hold confidential meetings with soldiers and veterans, helping them to cope with whatever stresses are plaguing them, free of charge.

"We have some understanding of the issues that they're experiencing and we have about 40 years behind us of civilian life," Cree explained.

"To go from an environment that's unpredictable and chaotic, and then to come home to everyday society, for some individuals, it's a hard transition," SSGT John Rosales, a member of the program, said.

He recalls how his return to the U.S. after 11 months in Iraq was anything but smooth.

"One of them spit in my face, and said that I should be ashamed of what I've done, and that that's not what America stands for," Rosales said.

He said during that time his mind was racing at a million miles a minute, but since sharing his experiences in the program, his life has become a simpler and more happier one.

"Being able to talk to him and he can relate to what I'm saying," Rosales said.

Steve and Bob told NewsWest 9, they meet every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at 6 PM at the Cogdell Learning Center in Midland. Their number is (432) 570-3300.