Fourth of July weekend Freedom’s Families will be hosting 12 families with disabled vets, from across the United States, in Heber.
Warren Price, founder of Freedom’s Families, hopes to bring therapeutic recreation to help vets and their families become united once again.
Price said, Freedom’s Family is a non-profit organization that brings families closer together. Their mission is to save disabled veterans and their families from the devastation of divorce. Veterans with a disability are twice as likely to divorce than other veterans, and three times more likely to divorce multiple times.
The three main groups they serve are those with traumatic brain injuries, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and physical disabilities. They hope to serve all they can in the future. They officially became a recognized organization March 7, 2011.
Price has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder himself. He returned from Iraq in 2005 and has been fighting to overcome the anxiety disorder ever since.
“It’s not like anything I would have ever dreamed of experiencing,” Price said. “Fighting PTSD is like being thrown into the deep-end of the ocean and having waves continually smashing against you. You don’t know if you are making any progress, and you don’t know if you will ever get out.”
“Veterans have to pay the price for our freedom,” Price said. “When the vet returns, it is the family who has to pay the price, because now they are left to take care of the vet.”
In 2008 one of Price’s friends took him fly fishing and he felt peace for the first time in three years. “I realized I could feel relief and it gave me hope to keep fighting,” Price said.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that occurs because of a traumatic experience. Veterans often experience it after war and have reoccurring nightmares, severe flashbacks, and have constant fear of the past. They begin to avoid situations that may trigger a memory of war.
Price started the organization to help people like himself and to let families know there is hope. According to Price, 18 veterans commit suicide everyday because of severe depression that follows coming home from war.
“It is great for families who are going through the same thing to come together,” said Tiffany Wick who attended a retreat with her veteran husband. “The veterans feel so alone going through PTSD and Freedom’s Families has allowed us to network with others who are going through the same thing.”
They decided to have the retreat on the Fourth of July because fireworks is often a trigger for those with PTSD. They wanted to relieve that fear by taking them somewhere where fireworks would not be seen or heard.
“We will be doing a barbecue and a benefit concert instead, so they will have a great evening,” Price said.