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'Love Our Vets: Restoring Hope' by Welby O'Brien

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Welby O'Brien, Portland, Oregon teacher, counselor and author penned "Love our Vets" for the families and loved ones of veterans who suffer from PTSD and TBI, traumatic brain injury. Her marriage to a 100% disabled PTSD veteran and a masters degree in counseling give her an intimate understanding of disabled vets and those who love them.

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Her practical, hands-on resource begins with "Reaffirm" where she offers a brief overview of what PTSD is, whether it can be cured and what to expect if you're in relationship with a PTSD vet. In this section she provides brief answers to 63 questions such as how to handle conflict, physical abuse, drug or alcohol addictions, firearms, inability to make decisions, paranoia and more. The questions are numbered for ease of lookup in the table of contents.

Part two, "Replenish," features an inventory of needs caregivers deplete who are usually too busy caring for others to care for themselves. Welby's survey format encourages readers to "think through each need" listed and note where they're deficient in their day-to-day challenges. She warns if personal needs are ignored illness or a complete meltdown can occur.

"Reflect," the third segment contains brief truths of "heart-baring wisdom gleaned from the lives" of those who live with or love a PTSD vet, such as:

"We do not always need an instant solution."

"I have been with him instead of trying to fix him"

"Don't argue with them when they're triggered."

"Truly I can't fix this."

"Don't forget to pray."

"Patience and love are empowering."

"It will never be perfect, but it can be good."

A group discussion guide, section summaries, Purple Star Families Home Preparedness Guide, "vicarious trauma" article (second hand trauma similar to second hand smoke) and thirty-one days of daily prayer complete the book.

Welby's guide is for the average military member, spouse, partner or parent of traumatized veterans and was written without confusing military and medical terminology. The issues and situations she writes about are real and sometimes dangerous. Her suggestions include the importance of boundaries, when dangerous behavior is unacceptable and why it's sometimes best to leave. The book can be read randomly, cover-to-cover or as a reference guide.

I found myself laughing, crying and empathizing with the problems our returning vets deal with. These brave men and women need our thanks, our help and perhaps most of all our gratitude for our ability to live in freedom when the price they pay and continue to pay is so dear.

Other websites for veterans include:

Team Rubicon gives veterans a sense of purpose

Interview with George Bush & Jake Wood of Rubicon

Make the connection where veterans find encouragement, support and share experiences.

Wounded Warrior Project who encourages vets to thrive instead of just survive.

Veteran PTSD & Service Dog change veteran’s lives.

VA Resources for jobs, careers and internships.

Websites for Veterans and Military Personal

Military friendly employers

Love Our Vets: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD, by Welby O'Brien, Deep River Books, 2012, 216 pages, 978-1937756642, $15.99

Midwest Book Reviews: "Gail's Bookshelf" Feb 2014

Pinterest: GailWelborn

LinkedIn: Gail Welborn

Twitter: @GailWelborn

FaceBook: Gail Welborn



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