Showing posts with label Orlando. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Orlando. Show all posts

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Love helped Orlando heal after Pulse stopped

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
June 12, 2021

Five years ago, a man so filled with hate, decided to murder 49 people and wound 53 more. He did not know them. He did not know who they were, what they did or anything other than the fact he hated them so much, he decided to slaughter them.

The survivors acted out of love for the people they were with and for total strangers. They helped one and other escape to a place where they could hide, if they could not get out of the building. Some of those killed, died saving someone else.

People who were not there, decided to respond out of love to do what they could to help. They rushed with their cars and trucks to take the wounded to hospitals. Police Officers and SWAT teams showed up, putting their own lives in danger to stop the man from killing more.

When it was over, when the sun came up, officers were walking around where the dead still laid on the floor with their cell phone ringing. The officers would be forever haunted by the sounds of someone trying to reach someone they loved to see if they were still alive...or not.

People in the area, joined together to donate blood. Thousands of people did whatever they could to help, not knowing if they were risking their own lives, because no one knew if there would be more people so filled with hate, they were ready to kill too. Strangers showed up to give people in line food and something to drink as they stood in the heat patiently waiting their turn to do whatever they could.

Money came in from all over the world to help the families bury the people they loved and to help the survivors with their medical expenses, lost wages and every other price they paid because they were targetted by hatred.

Crisis Intervention teams showed up for the families of those who died, for the survivors and for the responders. Mental Health professionals lined up to provide free trauma care.

Love won that day, as it usually does. When one person, or a few, decide to act out of hate, millions respond with love.

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him,

2 and he began to teach them.
The Beatitudes
He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
That is a list of people who are blessed. None of it is easy but all of it is based on love.

Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
When people pretend they are doing something in the Name of God, or in the Name of Jesus, this is how you know if they are telling the truth or not.

Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
This can be especially hard, but consider what Jesus was facing, knowing He would be put to death for the sake of those He Loved, and yet He preached all about Love. It is more powerful than anything else there is.

Today the featured video has no lyrics. It only has names of the people murdered 5 years ago at the Pulse Nightclub. One man decided to murder them, but thousands responded with love!

Five First Responders to the Pulse Massacre. One Diagnosis: PTSD.

by Abe Aboraya, WMFE June 11, 2018
Pulse was one of the nation’s largest mass shootings, where 49 people died and at least 53 others were wounded. The invisible injuries to first responders represent another toll of the catastrophe.

For these five first responders — and many others — June 12 was the first day of their new lives, one in which they would confront post-traumatic stress disorder. Even though most had responded to gruesome scenes of murder, suicide and car accidents, that didn’t prepare them for the psychological injury of PTSD. Going forward, they would relive that day in flashbacks and nightmares, see danger behind every closed door, and become irritable and impatient with spouses and coworkers.

“There are just some events that are so horrific that no human being should be able to just process that and put it away,” said Deborah Beidel, a University of Central Florida professor who runs a clinic called UCF Restores that treats first responders with PTSD. read more here
And that is what happens when people who risk their lives to respond to what hatred does. But love helps them heal too!
I interviewd Dr. Beidel a few years ago.

Remember, it is your life...get in and drive it!
#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife from PTSD

Friday, June 4, 2021

So where do you find God?

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
June 4, 2021

(part 2 God is closer than you think)

Sometimes when we cannot find something, we search for hours, get frustrated and then find it right in front of us but we just didn't see it. It was there all along. So many people ask "Where was God?" when this happened or that happened. When all they saw was anger, hatred, evil and terrible events, it seemed as if God is on vacation because it happened. If we open our eyes, we find Him in what others do out of love.
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. 
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
Look back at all the horrible images of events and then read about what happened afterwards. Natural disasters destroy and kill, but people respond to rebuild and comfort survivors. Accidents, fires, mass murders and all other terrible events throughout history caused people to respond in mass to do something out of love.

When you think about whatever happened that caused PTSD, and then remember what happened afterwards when people came to help you, then you know God was there too!

When you take remembrance of your own pain, to reach out to help someone else, that is love.
When you remember what it was like when you were lonely, and comfort someone else, that is love.
Whenever you do anything, no matter how small it may seem, to show someone they matter, that is love, and God is there.

June 12th 2016, Pulse Nightclub massacre
Vigils have been held around the country for the victims of the Orlando nightclub attack on June 12. Thousands of people, including Jennifer Ware (right) and Mary Ware, took part in a memorial in downtown Orlando a day after the massacre. David Goldman/AP

NPR reported on it with

3 Hours In Orlando: Piecing Together An Attack And Its Aftermath

I lived near Orlando when I happened. There were strangers in that club that night doing whatever they could to save others. Some people were showing up and driving the wounded to hospitals. Police Officers and SWAT teams were risking their lives to stop it. After it was over, the officers were talking about walking around looking for survivors with cell phones ringing non stop. They talked about how hard that was knowing on the other end of the phone was someone searching for someone they loved.

One person decided to do it out of hatred but millions around the world responded out of love. Soon afterwards, people were lining up donating blood in huge numbers. We stood in the heat not knowing if there would be another attack against all of us. It was all still being pieced together but it didn't matter. The people who showed up to help knew all they needed to know at the time....other people needed help. God was there too.

Some members of the clergy were preaching about the sin of people at Pulse more than they were preaching about the murderer. Some members of the clergy have a habit of preaching about hatred and judgement, at the same time they mention Jesus, almost as if they have no clue what Jesus preached. When people left those churches, God was there too, holding the door for them to walk away and leave the false teachers to find true ones.

When you realize that any religious leader is only human, you stop blaming God for what they did, and thank Him for opening your eyes to the love He always had for you. If you remember, Jesus prayed most of the time outside and so can you. You can talk to God whenever you want, and wherever you are. Your soul will know He hears you. Then you can help others know where God is, by what you do out of love!
When you act out of love you realize that God was there all along. So where do you find God? Today the featured video is Larry Fleet, Where I Find God.

Remember, it is your life...get in and drive it!
#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife from #PTSD

Where I Find God
Larry Fleet 

The night I hit rock bottom, sittin' on an old bar stool
He paid my tab and put me in a cab, he didn't have to
But he could see I was hurtin', oh I wish I'd got his name
'Cause I didn't feel worth savin', but he saved me just the same
That day out on the water when the fish just wouldn't bite
I put my pole down, floated around, it was just so quiet
And I could hear my old man sayin', "Son, just be still"
'Cause you can't find peace like this in a bottle or a pill
From a bar stool to that Evinrude
Sunday mornin' in a church pew
In a deer stand or a hay field
An interstate back to Nashville
In a Chevrolet with the windows down
Me and Him just ridin' around
Sometimes, whether I'm lookin' for Him or not
That's where I find God
Sometimes late at night, I lie there and listen
To the sound of her heart beatin' and that song the crickets are singin'
And I don't know what they're sayin'
But it sounds like a hymn to me
No, I ain't too good at prayin'
But thanks for everything
From a bar stool to that Evinrude
Sunday mornin' in a church pew
In a deer stand or a hay field
An interstate back to Nashville
In a Chevrolet with the windows down
Me and Him just ridin' around
Sometimes, whether I'm lookin' for Him or not
That's where I find God
From a bar stool to that Evinrude
Sunday mornin' in a church pew
In a deer stand or a hay field
An interstate back to Nashville
In a Chevrolet with the windows down
Me and Him just ridin' around talkin'
Well, I do that a lot
Well, I do that a lot
That's where I find God

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Connie Harrington / Larry Fleet
Where I Find God lyrics © Sony/atv Tree Publishing, Goes Something Like This Music, Make It Matter Music, Larry Fleet Publishing 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

String of miracles: Marine in Iraq found his family because of funeral for homeless veteran

Vietnam Veteran Andrew Elmer Wright

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
May 14, 2020

I have always had my heart tugged by homeless veterans.

Veteran Major Thomas Lawrence Egan, received many decorations for his service. He died homeless and alone in Eugene the snow. It was not that people did not try to help him. Many tried, but for whatever reason, he did not manage to accept what he needed from anyone.

The story of homeless veteran Richard Leroy Walters proved the we never know how much they are suffering...or how much they care about others.
Every day on NPR, listeners hear funding credits — or, in other words, very short, simple commercials. A few weeks ago, a new one made it to air: "Support for NPR comes from the estate of Richard Leroy Walters, whose life was enriched by NPR, and whose bequest seeks to encourage others to discover public radio."

NPR's Robert Siegel wondered who Walters was. So Siegel Googled him.

An article in the online newsletter of a Catholic mission in Phoenix revealed that Walters died two years ago at the age of 76. He left an estate worth about $4 million. Along with the money he left for NPR, Walters also left money for the mission.

But something distinguished Walters from any number of solvent, well-to-do Americans with seven-figure estates: He was homeless.
There are many stories about homeless veterans, but the one that stands out the most in my mind, is the string of miracles that happened, because the story grabbed my heart.

Story from Wounded Times

Vietnam Vet Andrew Elmer Wright found a home as a homeless vet

March 25, 2010

A simple casket with an American flag for Vietnam Veteran Andrew Elmer Wright.

A simple bouquet of flowers was placed with a simple photo a church member snapped.

By all accounts, Andrew was a simple man with simple needs but what was evident today is that Andrew was anything but a "simple" man.

A few days ago I received an email from Chaplain Lyle Schmeiser, DAV Chapter 16, asking for people to attend a funeral for a homeless Vietnam veteran. After posting about funerals for the forgotten for many years across the country, I felt compelled to attend.

As I drove to the Carey Hand Colonial Funeral Home, I imagined an empty room knowing how few people would show up for a funeral like this. All the other homeless veteran stories flooded my thoughts and this, I thought, would be just one more of them.

When I arrived, I discovered the funeral home was paying for the funeral. Pastor Joel Reif, of First United Church of Christ asked them if they could help out to bury this veteran and they did. They put together a beautiful service with Honor Guard and a 21 gun salute by the VFW post.

I asked a man there what he knew about Andrew and his eyes filled. He smiled and then told me how Andrew wouldn't drink the water from the tap. He'd send this man for bottled water, always insisting on paying for it. When the water was on sale, he'd buy Andrew an extra case of water but Andrew was upset because the man didn't use the extra money for gas.

Then Pastor Joel filled in more of Andrew's life. Andrew got back from Vietnam, got married and had children. His wife passed away and Andrew remarried. For some reason the marriage didn't work out. Soon the state came to take his children away. Andrew did all he could to get his children back, but after years of trying, he gave up and lost hope.

A few years ago, after going to the church for help from the food pantry, for himself and his cats, Andrew lost what little he had left. The tent he was living in was bulldozed down in an attempt to clear out homeless people from Orlando. Nothing was left and he couldn't find his cats.

Andrew ended up talking to Pastor Joel after his bike was stolen again, he'd been beaten up and ended up sleeping on church grounds in the doorway. Pastor Joel offered him the shed in the back of the church to sleep in so that he wouldn't have to face more attacks.

The shed had electricity and they put in a TV set, a frying pan and a coffee maker. They wanted to give Andrew more but he said they had already given him enough.

Pastor Joel told of how Andrew gave him a Christmas card with some money in it one year. Pastor Joel didn't want to take money from someone with so little, but Andrew begged him to take it saying "Please, don't take this away from me" because it was all he had to give and it meant a lot to give it to the Pastor. Much like the widow with two cents gave all she had in the Bible, Andrew was truly grateful for what little he had been given from the church.

What was soon made clear is that Pastor Joel gave him even more than he imagined. Andrew took it on himself to be the church watchman. While services were going on after Andrew greeted the parishioners, he would travel around the parking lot to make sure the cars were safe. At night he made sure any guests of the church were equally watched over. Pastor Joel not only gave him a roof over his head and food, he gave him something to make him feel needed.

More and more people came to the service and there was a lot of weeping as Pastor Joel spoke. What was very clear this day is that Andrew was called a homeless veteran but he was not homeless. He found one at the church. He lost his family and his children, but he found a family at the church.

From what was said about Andrew, he was a Vietnam veteran with PTSD and he wanted no help from the VA. Too many of them feel the same way and they live on the streets, depending on the kindness of strangers to help them out. Andrew wasn't one of the panhandlers we see in Orlando. He refused to beg for money and he wanted to work for whatever he was given. His health got worse but he still did what he could. Right up until March 16, 2010 when Andrew passed away, no matter what happened to him during his life, Andrew proved that this veteran was not hopeless, not helpless because he found the fulfillment of hope in the arms of strangers who took him in and he found help as he asked as well as gave.

The legacy of this homeless veteran is that he touched the lives of so many hearts and will never be forgotten.

Behind this church, in a tiny shed, Andew spent his last hours on this earth. Born in Riverside Park NJ on November 5, 1938 he returned to God on March 16, 2010. read the rest here

Rebecca's food pantry was started by parents after their daughter died. Because of that gift of love, a homeless veteran, was adopted by the church. That church gave him a home and a family. Because of the love they had for him, the funeral touched me so much so, that I had to post about it.

The veteran loved his children and never stopped searching for them. A son was in the Marines, serving in Iraq, and never gave up lookin for his Dad. A wife, loved her husband and carried on the search. Because of the post, she found it and contacted her husband. He was in Iraq when his search ended by being notified his Dad was gone.

That is not the end of the story. The son contacted Pastor Joel and found out how much his Dad loved him...and how much the church loved his Dad.

When the son returned from Iraq, he met Pastor Joel and was given the flag from the funeral. The son was also able to find his siblings after that.

This is what happened after the story came out.
First United Church of Christ proved that miracles can still happen. They took in a homeless Vietnam Veteran, gave him love and gave a family closure. His son was serving in the Marines when he found out what happened to his Dad. A simple casket with an American flag for Vietnam Veteran Andrew Elmer Wright.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Orlando Vets Center Hope'n House

Orlando Vets Center Open House

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
November 4, 2018

You know when there is something going on with your vehicle. It just doesn't seem to be running right. As you drive down streets, you hope it does not breakdown in traffic or on some isolated road.

Oh, sure you have a cellphone to call for help, but while you are waiting, you never know what is going to happen, or how long you'll be stuck there. 

While waiting for a tow truck you start to think about what the mechanics will find wrong with it. Most of the time, it is an easy fix. Sometimes it takes a lot more work than you thought it would.

When the vehicle you live in is not running right, it works the same way. When you are not running right, you may breakdown and feel stuck. If you call for help, and get to a mechanic for what you need, then, sometimes it is an easy fix, but other times, it takes a lot more work.

Yesterday we went out to the Orlando Vets Center for their open house. Actually it should have been called hope'n house, because that is what they are dedicated to doing.

Vets Centers started in 1979.

Who We Are 
We are the people in VA who welcome home war veterans with honor by providing quality readjustment counseling in a caring manner. Vet Centers understand and appreciate Veterans’ war experiences while assisting them and their family members toward a successful post-war adjustment in or near their community.
The Vet Center Program was established by Congress in 1979 out of the recognition that a significant number of Vietnam era vets were still experiencing readjustment problems.

Vet Centers are community based and part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  In April 1991, in response to the Persian Gulf War, Congress extended the eligibility to veterans who served during other periods of armed hostilities after the Vietnam era.

Those other periods are identified as Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, and Kosovo/Bosnia.  In October 1996, Congress extended the eligibility to include WWII and Korean Combat Veterans. The goal of the Vet Center program is to provide a broad range of counseling, outreach, and referral services to eligible veterans in order to help them make a satisfying post-war readjustment to civilian life.

On April 1, 2003 the Secretary of Veterans Affairs extended eligibility for Vet Center services to veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and on June 25, 2003 Vet Center eligibility was extended to veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and subsequent operations within the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).

The family members of all veterans listed above are eligible for Vet Center services as well. On August 5, 2003 VA Secretary Anthony J. Principi authorized Vet Centers to furnish bereavement counseling services to surviving parents, spouses, children and siblings of service members who die of any cause while on active duty, to include federally activated Reserve and National Guard personnel.

We understand, and most of all, we care.
Vet Centers have group sessions, therapists, all the usual things you have come to know. They also have yoga, Tai Chi, art, music, and a lot more. Just like with the vehicle you drive, you are not the same as others on the road.

For some, one thing works great, but may not be what you need. What you need may not be what your buddy needs. That is what the mechanics at the Vet Centers are there for. They will find what will work best for you to have a better ride the rest of your life!

You can support what is vital to helping them the work being done at the Vets Center, or you could keep supporting the demon and share the topic that could kill them.

"Can you imagine how I feel today?"

PTSD Patrol Kathie Costos June 15, 2021 "Can you imagine how I feel today?" is a question no one would have to ask if they talk...

PTSD Patrol

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It is your life, get in and drive it