“Inspire Others to Seek Help” DoD Blogger Roundtable

Veterans Day is fast approaching and it is a day for our country to celebrate the lives and service of our veterans. They continue to impact our communities, our states and our nation as a whole. Some return from their tours of service ready to serve their local, state or national government in numerous ways, as business leaders, parents, students, role models and much more. But some return with injuries, both visible and invisible, and need assistance to reach their goals, become part of their communities, do those things most Americans take for granted, like driving a car. The DoD Bloggers Roundtable talked with one of those veterans, Maj. Ed Pulido (U.S. Army, retired) as he shared his story about combat in Iraq and the IED that injured him, the medical system that saved his life with a helicopter medevac, front line surgery, fixed wing medevac to Ramstein Air Base, then Walter Reed and finally Brooke Medical Center.

Major Ed Pulido – see belowHe described his critical injuries, the role of his family, doctors, buddies, mental health pros, chaplains and others to mitigate his injuries and keep him alive. Then the struggle with depression after the removal of his leg, the night sweats, Traumatic Brain Injury, post traumatic stress and how early on intervention saved him. An inspiring story for sure, but Ed said his goal by telling it was to “Inspire Others to Seek Help” as we approach the day Americans say or should say “Thank You”!

Additional Roundtable participants, Dr. Mark Bates, Director for Resilience and Prevention, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and TBI (DCoE); Maj. Todd Yosick (U.S. Army), Deputy Director for Resilience and Prevention, DCoE; Verna Jones, Director of Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Services for the American Legion described resources available to our veterans! We have learned a lot since 2001 in how to care for veteran injuries.

“It takes a strong warrior to seek help” according to Ed! Agreed, 100%, many military members will not ask for help until it is too late or a slow response, delays their care and healing. Early intervention is always the best medical response whether it is cancer, a damaged limb, pneumonia, traumatic brain injury, or mental health challenges following combat! None get better over time! How to beat the stigma? Peer to peer support, educating family members and use of social media such as the chat line at the Real Warrior Campaign. Take the first step – Ed, “I have issues, if I am healthy and well, I can care for others.”

Cancer patients hear about the “new normal” after life changes are created by treatment. The new normal for the military community involves peer support! Peer support is a “critical first line of defense”. Social isolation is the first sign – the darkest hour according Dr Bates and Major Yosick added that the unit is the key to support as well! He described five key points to highlight an effective unit in the new normal:

  • Leadership
  • Effective Communications
  • The Level of Cohesion
  • Engagement within Unit
  • Flexible and Adaptive – Change Happens Fast

Sounds like an effective combat unit and one that takes care of its team members as well! Successful too!

Some great contact information for you to grab from us! First, the DCoE is on Facebook, has a website, (just click on their logo above to get started), a new mobile APP, live chat, call center at 866 966 1020 and will accept calls from family, friends, military members and anyone concerned about a veteran.

Feel a bit overwhelmed with all the data or want to get started with a service organization? Try the American Legion! Over 2,000 service representatives to help with VA benefits and much more can be found in your area. They provided more a half million dollars in grants last year to veteran families – 640 families in 2010! No membership requirement for their assistance! 202 861 7700 is the number to the national headquarters or if you are not sure who to contact, please give Verna Jones a call at 202 531 4118!

Photo Credit: Real Warrior Maj. Ed Pulido (U.S. Army, retired) DoD Live

Photo Credit:  Logo is DCoE from their website byColonel KonWednesday, November 09, 2011Military Life:,,,,,

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