Valley veteran support group sees increase in requests for help
BROADWAY, Va. (WHSV) - A Valley nonprofit says with the recent events in Afghanistan and the end of a 20-year war, it can be a lot to process but wants veterans to know they’re still here.
Travis Coyle, executive director of Living Waters Freedom Initiative (LWFI), was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 while in the U.S Army, and says for him the decision to leave Afghanistan is a mix of emotions.
“As far as leaving Afghanistan I don’t think anybody you know really has a problem with that,” Coyle said. “ I feel personal and others that have shared with me and that I speak to on a daily basis is just the manor in which the withdraw went.”
The Broadway native says he started LWFI to be a support group for veterans as they returned home from combat. Coyle and his wife Andrea say over the last several months with the pandemic and events in Afghanistan they’ve seen more veterans reach out.
“I was on the phone last night with a gentleman from Michigan, I’ve talked to some veterans from out in Arizona, we had a gentleman drive all the way from Richmond last night to our peer group meeting in Harrisonburg,” Coyle said.
Andrea says it’s not that all veterans need mental health services, but just need someone to talk to.
“There is going to be some type of grief, this was a 20-year process and a lot of them lost men and women that they knew,” Andrea said.
It’s because of that need Coyle says he and his family will be leaving Broadway in just a few short months. He says leaving the farm is a difficult decision but will help the organization grow different chapters across the country.
Coyle says they already have groups of veterans organizing in Florida, Bristol and California, and their hope is to help more veterans.
“No matter which your stand is on the issue we’re all in this life together you know just do what you can but there are resources out there,” Coyle said.
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