Local Veteran helps counsel fellow veterans

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) - Veteran's Day is Saturday and all week people have been celebrating those who served, but this is also a time to raise awareness of what veterans go through.

Veteran Glen McGraw joined the Air Force in 1993.

"It was an incredible experience for me," McGraw said.

Seven deployments, 37 countries and 14 years later and McGraw said he'd go back and do it again in a heart beat, but McGraw suffered a traumatic brain injury and was medically discharged.

"So I had like no clue what I was going to do cause my plan always was to do 20 to 30 years and then go into law enforcement.  With a brain injury it wasn't really wise of me to go into law enforcement," McGraw said.

McGraw said he went from job to job before he found a position with the Military Veteran Peer Network here in Abilene.

"At first it was a very big struggle because I hadn't dealt with my issues yet," McGraw said

McGraw said he suffers from PTSD, anxiety and depression.

"It wasn't until one of the people I was working with, cause peer work is a two way street, and one day he verified it was a two way street and he goes I think you need a counselor cause you seem to not be getting out of where you're at," McGraw said.

So McGraw started going to counseling.

"Before I went to counseling I went to a conference in San Antonio.  For a week I stayed in a hotel.  I mean literally I walked in the door and never walked out until I went to my car to leave," McGraw said.

And after counseling he said he went to the same conference and stayed in the same hotel but this time he dropped his bags off in the room and walked around the city.

Counseling isn't the only thing that helps McGraw with his trauma but also his service dog Jethro.

"My four legged friend at my feet he's part of that tool package I have," McGraw said.

Jethrow and counseling gave McGraw his life back and now he can give other vets their life back too.  McGraw said all it takes is hard work.

McGraw works with "Art Heals" as well as the MVPN to help his fellow veterans work through the trauma they face.


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