I wanted to take a minute to thank you and explain how much gratitude I have for all that you have done for my family and me. Anyone who has ever known me knows that I have been struggling with PTSD symptoms for nearly my whole life.

I came from a troubled, violent home that was more like a night terror. After many years of mistreatment from my family, I joined the Marine Corps, which was like a brotherhood full of honor respect and loyalty. I love being a Marine it is one of my favorite moments in life holding my Eagle globe and Anchor after facing hell… I was scared and filled with anxiety and depressed before I ever joined the Corps. Marines are trained to be tough and push through everything and anything, which I had done for a long time before joining. After I got back from Iraq I was different: angry, mean, nasty, and scared to death. I drank heavily, couldn’t sleep and my desire for life diminished… After a run in with the law I lost even more steam… I couldn’t keep a job, couldn’t talk to anybody and worse, I didn’t really feel like talking at all. I started going to the VA, and got sober which was a big help. Very slowly, I started to readapt to civilian jobs and in the last 8 years I had about d 20 jobs and have had a hard time coping and adjusting back to society. I still do.

A Veteran brother of mine mentioned a retreat involving EMDR Therapy, yoga, meditation, life skills and acupuncture he had attended recently. I wanted to be a part of the next one and somehow he talked to the staff and I got to go…

Words don’t do justice to what I experienced. I will attempt to. My most favorite part of the experience with the Retreat was the bond I had with fellow veterans… I got to be open, honest and real with my brothers and sisters… The staff was professional and courteous to say the least. Somehow they could be professional and yet each individual member of staff made me feel welcome, special and heard. I experienced so much freedom from the retreat. I still have my symptoms of PTSD but I also have more tools to manage them. Meditation and yoga help me focus and the instructor helped me a lot see meditation and Yoga in such a simple way. Although I had done EMDR in the past I was surprised that I opened up to my personal therapist as fast as I did this time around. I have been talking to a lot of vets since 2008 some guys are still out there living on the street, hungry, tired and alone. I had been feeling pretty lonely for a while and I feel like this retreat helped open me up. It gave me back a sense of passion I had buried deep inside me trying to find its way out of me…

Thank you so much to the sponsor, staff and veterans of the “Phoenix Rising” retreat. I thank God for you all and you all have a special place in my heart forever. I love all of you and you can’t do a thing about it;). Please, keep doing what you are doing it has helped me so much. God Bless and Semper Fidelis.

William D Walls