My dad, Chip Conzelman, served 24 years in the Army Reserve. During his service, Chip was deployed three times, twice to Kosovo, and once to Iraq. He was gone sporadically for trainings and meetings, which ranged from Michigan to Germany. As a soldier, Chip was a part of special operations, civil affairs. His main job was to coordinate with local officials to protect civilians and rebuild infrastructure.
While this may seem like a relatively safe task, the areas in which Chip was deployed were ridden with war. The courage, selflessness, and bravery shown by Chip earned him several prestigious awards. During his time in Iraq, Chip earned the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Combat Action Badge. These are just a few of the many recognitions Chip received during his time in the military.
As a result of so many deployments, my dad suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can manifest itself in many forms, including insomnia, recurring nightmares, mood swings, and depression. These symptoms can result in isolation, self-harm, and/or substance abuse.
This disorder affects almost 20% of veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Unfortunately, 50% of veterans with PTSD do not seek services. With the help of Hope for the Warriors, veterans receive clinical support services and transition services. This provides veterans with critical care coordination and financial assistance. Families are also offered referrals and counseling to manage and navigate the unknowns that come along with PTSD.
This October I will be running the Chicago Marathon to raise money and awareness for PTSD in veterans. Hope for the Warriors is an incredible non-profit that strives to meet the individual needs of military families. Please consider donating to the veterans and their families who made so many sacrifices to provide us with safety and comfort.